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Gothic fantasy and horror are genres that maximize many high school students’ engagement with literature. “The Cats of Ulthar” by H.P. Lovecraft is a macabre short story featuring savage neighbors, an avenging curse, and flesh-eating felines—making it an especially chilling choice for the Halloween season. With this digital bundle of high school resources for teaching “The Cats of Ulthar,” 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 delivered in printable Word Document and PDF formats.

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

  • The narrator’s perception of cats
  • The longtime existence of cats
  • The old couple’s terrible reputation
  • The community’s general disposition toward the couple
  • The paintings on the travelers’ caravan
  • The characterization of Menes
  • The sudden disappearance of the cats
  • A change in the cats’ physical appearance upon their return
  • The fate of the old couple
  • Peculiar discoveries inside the old couple’s house
  • A change in the law

By completing the close reading analysis worksheet, students will:

  • Discern a key purpose of the mythological allusions delivered in the exposition
  • Draw parallels between the author’s choices and knowledge of cat-related proverbs
  • Explore the antagonistic characterization of the community’s old couple
  • Examine the narrator’s feelings toward the people of Ulthar
  • Explore the greater significance of imagery from a mythological perspective
  • Investigate the author’s decision to name a key character after an Egyptian figure
  • Discern the functions of several paragraphs
  • Apply knowledge of a variety of literary devices including personification, irony, inversion, and onomatopoeia
  • Make logical inferences about the author’s decision to include two seemingly insignificant details
  • Identify and explain a significant example of foreshadowing in the story
  • Argue whether the people of Ulthar are better or worse off for having gone through their experiences
  • Support claims and ideas with reasoned thinking and relevant textual evidence
  • Write ideas with clarity, accuracy, and precision