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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. With this bundle of high school resources for teaching “In the Vault,” English teachers will save valuable time at home without sacrificing rigor in the classroom. Included are the following: a multiple choice, plot-based quiz; a worksheet composed of rigorous close reading questions; the public domain narrative; and answer keys. Materials are made for Google Drive.

By completing the quiz, students will demonstrate knowledge of the following:

  • The narrator’s criticism of people
  • A general description of the protagonist’s personality
  • The protagonist’s work
  • The characterization of Matthew Fenner
  • The characterization of Asaph Sawyer
  • The reason the protagonist gets trapped in the vault
  • The duration of time the protagonist is trapped
  • The protagonist’s initial reaction to being in the company of corpses
  • A plan to escape the vault
  • A complication that hinders progress
  • Dr. Davis’s reaction to the protagonist’s injury
  • The discovery as a result of an investigation

By completing the close reading analysis worksheet, 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