Edgar Allan Poe and Anna Katherine Green

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Grade Level
High School
Length of Time
1 Hour

This lesson plan is about Detective Fiction. Edgar Allan Poe is considered the Father of Detective Fiction. Anna Katharine Green is considered the Mother of Detective Fiction. I have written two summaries of "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe and "The Second Bullet" by Anna Katharine Green.


Students will learn about
Edgar Allan Poe
Anna Katherine Green
Understand the story "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe
Understand the story, "The Second Bullet" by Anna Katharine Green.
Write a comparison and contrast paper over the two stories.

Materials Needed

I have included summaries of the two stories in this lesson plan.

This lesson plan is about Edgar Allan Poe. He is known as the Father of Detective Fiction.

He has written several short stories including "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Tell-Tale Heart," and "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," which is considered the first detective fiction story.

In this lesson, you will teach "The Tell-Tale Heart," which was published in 1843. It is written in first person by the one who committed the crime.

This is a summary of the short story.

An elderly man who was lying in bed. Throughout the story, the first person narrator kept mentioning the elderly man's evil eye. He called it an evil eye or vulture eye. The intruder was disturbed about the man's evil eye. The intruder kept sticking his head in the room every night at midnight.

Finally, one night, he opened the door and heard the elderly man cry out, "Who's there?" The intruder said nothing and entered the room quietly.

Suddenly, he heard the man groan of pain or grief. The intruder kept hearing the elderly man's heart sound louder and louder. He didn't want the neighbor's to hear anything, so he had to do something. The intruder pulled the man off the bed and pulled the heavy bed over the man to muffle the loudness of the man's heart. Within a few minutes, he realized the man was dead. He thought everything would be all right now.

However, a neighbor heard something coming from the house, so she called the police. The intruder had to think of something to do with the body. Questions for students before they read the story:

1. What do you think the intruder did with the body?

2. Did the police enter the house?

3. Do you think the police caught the intruder? This was a good short story. It is quite different from today's Detective Fiction.

This particular story is like a psychological thriller or suspense. Readers want to read the story to find out what happened and why the narrator was disturbed about the man's evil eye. The story has a very interesting twist at the end.

"The Second Bullet" by Anna Katharine Green"

This was a very interesting story. Her detective is Violet Strange. A man named George Hammond and his baby were killed.

After Violet Strange, the other police officer, and the coroner arrived at the scene, they started their investigation. The police assumed the man had committed suicide and killed his own baby by strangulation.

During the investigation, the people told the police they heard two shots. However, the police found only one bullet, and that was in the man.

The police turned the place upside down searching for the second bullet. They still couldn't find it, so they assumed that George Hammond had killed himself and his baby.

Violet Strange started her investigation after the police left. Mrs. Hammond finally told Violet her side of the story and that she knew there had been two shots. She thought the bullet had hit the mirror and bounced off and went through the window on the other side of the room. Violet couldn't see how that could have happened.

Violet also asked about the life insurance policy that George Hammond had. If he had committed suicide, there would be no money given to his widow. If it was determined that he was murdered, she would inherit the money, unless she committed the murder.

Here are a few questions for you to think about as you read the story.

1. Did Mrs. Hammond kill her husband to get the insurance money?

2. Was the second bullet ever found?

3. If it was, where was it located?

4. Why couldn't the police find it in their investigation if there was a second bullet?

5. Did George Hammond commit suicide, or was he killed?

This was an excellent short story. Readers are kept guessing as to what happened. The life insurance policy was mentioned to arouse curiosity. Also, the discussion of the second bullet arouses curiosity. Readers are led to believe there is a second bullet, but the police cannot locate it.


First, you can go over the summary of the story by Edgar Allan Poe. You can use the questions to have them predict what they think will happen in the story.

Then, you can assign the story for the students to read.

After that, you can read the summary of story by Anna Katharine Green.

Then, you can have the students answer the questions I included in the lesson plan to see if they can predict what will happen in the story.

Then, you can have the students read the story.

Finally, you can have the students write a comparison and contrast paper over the two stories. This paper can be on any topic you choose.


100 to 90 = A

89 to 80 = B

79 to 70 = C

69 to 60 = D

Below 60 = F

You can grade the students on their participation in class, reading the stories, answering the questions, and writing their comparison and contrast paper over the two stories.

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