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https://www.storyboardthat.com/lesson-plans/the-masque-of-the-red-death-by-edgar-allan-poe/theme-symbol-motif

Activity Overview


Themes, symbols, and motifs come alive when you use a storyboard. In this activity, students will identify themes and symbols from the story, and support their choices with details from the text. With a storyboard, students can track the rich symbolism Poe uses throughout “The Masque of the Red Death”.

Symbols

The Clock

The clock is a representative of death’s inevitability. All the revelry stops at each hourly strike of the clock. This is a constant reminder that our lives and our time alive is constantly winding down. Each ghostly chime is death's own countdown. It is also a reminder that man cannot stop or slow down time, it continues and waits for no one. Its last chime ultimately represents death appearance and the end of life. Hence the clock strikes at midnight and the stranger appears, with midnight being the symbolizing the end of life.


The Stranger

The stranger dressed as a plague victim is Death himself. The personification of death lends to the theme that in death there is true equality; both the poor and rich alike will eventually succumb to death's grasp.


The Rooms in “The Masque of the Red Death”


The Rooms

The rooms represent the stages of life. The rooms begin at the east and progress west, as a metaphor for the path of the sun. This connects the cycle of the day with the cycle of a life: the morning is birth while night is the end of life and eventually, death. Each individual room and its color has a symbolic meaning which also relates to the life cycle.

The order of the life cycle also represents the path that Prospero takes to subdue his uninvited guest. As the Red Death walks through each room, so does Prospero. In the end, Prospero dies in the black room.

COLORMEANING
BlueBirth/Morning/Dawn
PurpleVitality/Childhood
GreenYouth/Spring/Growth
OrangeStrength/Summer/Autumn/Noon
WhiteAge/Wisdom/Growing Older/Winter
VioletDusk/Dimming of Life/Extinguish
Black Death
Red WindowsRed is associated with blood; the vitality of life, and the color of the Red Death

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-12

Difficulty Level 4 (Difficult / Complex)

Type of Assignment Individual, Partner, or Group

Type of Activity: Themes, Symbols & Motifs

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/5] Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/10] By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 9-10 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

    By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of the grades 9-10 text complexity band independently and proficiently


Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)



Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that identifies recurring themes in "The Masque of the Red Death". Illustrate instances of each theme and write a short description below each cell.


  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify the theme(s) from "The Masque of the Red Death" you wish to include.
  3. Create an image for an example that represents this theme.
  4. Write a description of each of the examples.
  5. Save and submit the assignment.



Rubric

(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)



Themes, Symbols, and Motifs (Grades 9-12)
Create a storyboard that identifies recurring themes, symbols, and/or motifs in the story. Illustrate instances of each and write a short description that explains the example's significance.
Proficient Emerging Beginning Needs Improvement
Identification of Theme(s), Symbol(s), and/or Motif(s)
All themes are correctly identified as important recurring topics or messages in the story. Symbols are correctly identified as objects that represent something else at a higher level in the story. Motifs are correctly identified as important recurring features or ideas in the story.
Most themes are correctly identified, but others are missing or incomplete. Most symbols are correctly identified, but some objects are missing or incomplete. Some motifs are correctly identified, but others are missing or incomplete.
Most themes are missing, incomplete, or incorrect. Most symbols are missing, incomplete, or incorrect. Most motifs are missing, incomplete, or incorrect.
No themes, symbols, or motifs are correctly identified.
Examples and Descriptions
Quotes and examples are accurate to the theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motif(s) that are being identified. Descriptions accurately explain the theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motif(s) and highlight their significance to the story.
Most quotes and examples are accurate to the theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motifs that are being identified. Descriptions mostly accurately explain the theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motif(s), and highlight their significance to the story.
Most quotes and examples are minimal, incorrect, or unrelated to the theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motif(s) that are being identified. Descriptions contain inaccuracies in their explanations, or do not highlight their significance to the story.
Examples and descriptions are missing or too minimal to score.
Depiction
Depictions chosen for theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motif(s) are accurate to the story and reflect time, effort, thought, and care with regard to placement and creation of the scenes.
Depictions chosen for theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motif(s) are mostly accurate to the story. They reflect time and effort put into placement and creation of the scenes.
Depictions chosen for theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motif(s) are inaccurate to the story. The depictions may be rushed or show minimal effort, time, and care put into placement and creation of the scenes.
Most depictions are missing too many elements or are too minimal to score. Little time or effort has been put into placement and creation of the scenes.
English Conventions
There are no errors in spelling, grammar, or mechanics throughout the storyboard. All writing portions reflect careful proofreading and accuracy to the story.
There are a few errors in spelling, grammar, and mechanics throughout the storyboard. All writing portions show accuracy to the story and some proofreading.
There are several errors in spelling, grammar, and mechanics throughout the storyboard. Most writing portions do not reflect proofreading or accuracy to the story.
Errors in spelling, grammar, and mechanics in writing portions of the storyboard seriously interfere with communication.




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