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Gothic fiction and horror are genres that maximize many high school students’ engagement with literature. “In the Vault” by H.P. Lovecraft is one such short story. It features elements such as entrapment, mutilated corpses, and the avenging of wrongdoing—making the narrative a particularly chilling read during the Halloween season. This rigorous worksheet on “In the Vault” helps English teachers support the development of close reading analysis skills and save valuable time at home without sacrificing rigor in the classroom. A detailed answer key and copy of the public domain narrative are provided. Materials are delivered in printable Word Document and PDF formats. By completing this activity, secondary students will:

  • Identify what the text states explicitly and implicitly
  • Apply knowledge of various literary devices including foreshadowing, situational irony, allusion, and theme
  • Analyze context clues and draw logical inferences about characterization/character motivations
  • Define complex words as they are used in the text
  • Identify relevant textual details in support of a claim
  • Analyze the author’s craft to determine the his intent
  • Discern the tone of a passage
  • Write ideas with clarity, accuracy, and precision