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Welcome to another Spooky Saturday!  Check out my other posts celebrating Halloween here.

The Tell-Tale Heart

Today, I want to talk about one of my all-time favorite short stories: “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe.  Many of you probably read this in school at some point; that’s where I was first introduced to it, and I’ve often wondered if the setting has something to do with my timeless love for this tale.

It was a dark and stormy day in 8th grade. When we filed into the Language Arts classroom, the amazingly crazy teacher had candles lit around the room.  I remember one that was shaped like a hand, with the wicks extending from the fingertips.  Our chairs and desks were pushed against the walls, and the lights were off.  Nervously, we came in and found seats on the floor, and then we began the best creepy hour of my life.  We listened to an audio recording of “The Tell-Tale Heart”, and the reader was good; it was chilling and gruesome and more than a little disturbing, and I loved it.

Why do I love this story?

I’ve always had a thing for Poe, but this is the tale I keep returning to.  Maybe it’s the madness, maybe it’s the fact that the reader is made complicit in the crime, or maybe it’s just the fact that this story came into my life for the first time when I was young and imaginative.  Whatever the reason, I love this tale, and I love using it in my own classroom.  I’ve taught the story to middle schoolers and college students, and I never get sick of reading it.

If you somehow escaped from school without reading this story, you can find the full text here, and if you want to really be creeped out, enjoy this performance by the incomparable Vincent Price.

What about you?  Do you love or hate Poe? Let me know what you think!

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