This week we read “The Cask of Amontillado.” It is seriously one of my all time favorite short stories. We are not meeting next Friday, so I want you to use the extra day this week to work on any missing assignments you might have.
- Read “Poe’s Final Days“
- Vocabulary (below)
- Literary Response and Analysis Questions (below)
- Read New York Times article, “Poe’s Death is Rewritten as Case of Rabies, Not Telltale Alcohol“
- Grammar Mini Lesson–Dialogue
- Finish Literary Response and Analysis Questions
- Read the Letter to the Editor from the New York Times, (9/23/96), “If Only Poe Had Succeeded When He Said Nevermore to Drink“
- Read the Letter to the Editor from the New York Times, (9/30/96), “Rabies Death Theory“
- Write a few paragraphs telling me the strengths and weaknesses of both of these theories surrounding Poe’s death. What do you think is most likely the cause of his death? Also, please try to evaluate the sources–which source seems the most credible?
- Poetry of Music Project
- Work on missing assignments
Please copy down each word and definition.
- precluded–made impossible in advance; prevented
- impunity–freedom from punishment or harm
- connoisseurship–expert knowledge
- impose–take advantage of
- recoiling–moving back in fear
Now select the best vocabulary word above to replace each bold word or phrase in the following sentences.
- The criminals knew that they could operate with no fear of punishment. _____________
- The whole series of lawyers had struggled in vain to prove that he was an accessory to the crime. ___________, ____________
- The defense lawyer felt that the public’s desire for revenge, ruled out the possibility of acquittal. _______________, ______________
- Although the state argued that the man’s expert knowledge of art proved his guilt, the jury was still unyielding in rejecting the arguments. _____________, _______________
- Shrinking away from the crime scene photos, the witness testified that the destruction of the museum was the act of a lone criminal. ______________, ______________
- If I can do a task myself, I’d rather not presume upon the kindness of others to do it for me. __________________
Literary Response and Analysis Questions
- What does Montresor admit is his motive for the crime?
- According to Montresor, what makes a perfect crime?
- According to Montresor, what kind of person is Fortunato?
- How does Montresor lure Fortunato farther and farther into the catacombs?
- What evidence suggests that Montresor has committed the perfect crime?
6. How would you describe the persona that Poe has created for Montresor? Why might Poe have chosen someone like Montresor to tell his story?
7. What character traits in Fortunato make him fall prey to Montresor?
8. In your opinion, what is Montresor thinking when he says, “In pace requiescat”? Explain your interpretation.
9. To whom could Montresor be talking, fifty years after the murder, and for what reasons?
10. Montresor’s voice–the way he speaks and his tone— is frequently ironic. Which of Montresor’s comments to the unsuspecting Fortunato mean something different from what they seem to mean?
11. Think about whether or not Montresor is an unreliable narrator. Do any details suggest that he might have imagined the “thousand injuries” and the insult– or even the whole story? Can you find evidence in the story that support Montresor’s claim that Fortunato did in fact injure and insult him? To support your answers, consider Montresor’s actions, statements, and voice.
12. Think about Poe’s decision to set his story during carnival. What is ironic about the setting? In what ways does the setting suit the plot of the story?
13. Is this just a gripping horror story told only for entertainment, or do you think it reveals some truth about people who are consumed by a desire for revenge? Give reasons for your opinions.
Dialogue in a story can advance the plot, reveal the thoughts of a character, or present important information to a reader. In American usage, dialogue is enclosed in double quotation marks (” “). Usually a new paragraph lets us know when a different person begins to speak, as in this example from “The Cask of Amontillado”:
“You do not comprehend?” he said.
“Not I.” I replied.
“Then you are not of the brotherhood.”
Most writers use tag lines (such as he said and I replied) to identify the speakers in a dialogue. Some writers do not always use tag lines, however. Poe, for example has written long passages of conversation between Montresor and Fortunato in which neither speaker is directly identified. Remember that tag lines should not be enclosed in quotation marks.
Look back at the dialogue at the beginning of the story, at the dialogue on page 59, where it begins “Amontillado!” to “I have no engagement; –come!”
- rewrite this section on the bottom of page 59.
- make sure you start a new paragraph each time someone else speaks.
- Insert some tag lines– he replied, I said, etc.
Remember this, when you write dialogue for an essay or a short story. Each time a new persons speaks it is a new paragraph!!!
Joshua White does a really good job of writing dialogue, by the way. It is something you want to learn well.
Finally, here is a little Political/Literary Humor for ya!