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For many high school students, the horror genre promotes more active engagement with literature. “The Terrible Old Man” by H.P. Lovecraft is a concise horror story featuring plot elements such as robbery, a character who dabbles in the occult, and mutilated corpses—making the narrative a particularly compelling read during the Halloween season. This rigorous worksheet on “The Terrible Old Man” 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, students will:

  • Identify what the text states explicitly and implicitly
  • Determine the story’s point of view
  • Discern the overall tone of the narrative
  • Analyze context clues and draw logical inferences about characterization/character motivations
  • Define complex vocabulary as it is used in the text
  • Apply knowledge of literary devices including situational irony
  • Draw parallels between the author’s life and the plot of “The Terrible Old Man”
  • Identify relevant textual details in support of claims and ideas
  • Write ideas with clarity, accuracy, and precision