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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. With this bundle of high school resources for teaching “The Terrible Old Man,” 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:

  • Setting
  • Rumors circulating about the Terrible Old Man
  • Details that suggest something sinister about the Terrible Old Man
  • What curious people see when they look into the Terrible Old Man’s window
  • A peculiar habit of the Terrible Old Man
  • The means by which three men in the story make their living
  • An alarming physical characteristic of the Terrible Old Man
  • A disturbing discovery
  • An implied hobby of the Terrible Old Man
  • The background of the Terrible Old Man

By completing the close reading analysis worksheet, 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