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For many high school readers, science fiction, supernatural fiction, and horror are genres that maximize engagement with literature. “The Call of Cthulhu” by H.P. Lovecraft is a classic short story that features elements consistent with those genres: ominous dreams, cult behavior, extraterrestrial beings, descriptive language, and more. This rigorous set of three worksheets covering “The Call of Cthulhu” helps English teachers extend student learning beyond reading comprehension, support the development of close reading analysis skills, and save valuable time at home without sacrificing rigor in the classroom. Detailed answer keys and a copy of the public domain narrative are provided. Materials are delivered in printable Word Document and PDF formats. 

The first worksheet covers the first chapter titled “The Horror in Clay.” Students will:

  • Identify what the text states explicitly and implicitly
  • Determine the significance of the subtitle above the epigraph
  • Explore how characters think, behave, and interact
  • Isolate a true statement about plot from a set of falsehoods
  • Discern the tone of a given passage
  • Determine the function of a given paragraph
  • Apply knowledge of various literary devices including idiom and euphemism
  • Define complex words and phrases as they are used in the text
  • Analyze the Lovecraft’s choices to make logical inferences about the author’s intent
  • Justify claims and ideas with relevant textual evidence and reasoned thinking
  • Write ideas with clarity, accuracy, and precision

The second worksheet covers the second chapter titled “The Tale of Inspector Legrasse.” Students will:

  • Identify what the text states explicitly and implicitly
  • Explore how characters think, behave, and interact
  • Determine the purpose of a particular character detail
  • Articulate the irony associated with the figure’s physical appearance
  • Apply knowledge of various literary devices including simile, metaphor, invective, personification, hubris, hyperbole, and onomatopoeia
  • Discern the greater significance of Professor Webb’s character in terms of plot development
  • Explain the intended effect of figurative language as it is used in the text (“dancing devil-flames”)
  • Isolate a false statement about plot from a set of true statements
  • Identify several narrative techniques applied by the author to achieve a sense of eeriness and terror
  • Determine which character trait is reinforced in a given passage
  • Define complex words and phrases as they are used in the text
  • Explore the extraterrestrial nature of the idol
  • Justify claims and ideas with relevant textual evidence and reasoned thinking
  • Write ideas with clarity, accuracy, and precision

The third worksheet covers the final chapter titled “The Madness from the Sea.” Students will:

  • Identify what the text states explicitly and implicitly
  • Explore how characters think, behave, and interact
  • Identify Emma’s country of origin
  • Activate schema to articulate the greater significance of a given date (April 2)
  • Examine the author’s diction to make logical inferences about a character’s emotional state
  • Apply knowledge of various literary devices including hyperbole and euphemism
  • Explore the intended effect of the allusion to Babylon
  • Determine which character trait is reinforced in a given passage
  • Define complex words and phrases as they are used in the text
  • Explain the intended effect of figurative expressions (“A mountain walked or stumbled” and “a slushy nastiness as of a cloven sunfish”)
  • Draw parallels between “The Call of Cthulhu” and the epic The Odyssey
  • Justify claims and ideas with relevant textual evidence and reasoned thinking
  • Write ideas with clarity, accuracy, and precision