The Tell-Tale Heart
Edgar Allan Poe
Reading Comprehension Activity
What is the reason that the narrator gives for wanting to kill the old man?
He wants the old man's gold.
The old man treats him poorly.
He does not like the old man's eye.
The old man insulted the narrator's girlfriend.
What does this motivation reveal about the narrator? Explain your answer.
Which best summarizes the narrator's argument in the third paragraph?
He argues that he is not crazy because he has been very kind to the old man.
He argues that he is not crazy because he plotted the murder very carefully.
He argues that he is not angry because he has been bringing the old man his lantern every night.
He argues that he is not angry because he has been checking on the old man while he sleeps.
Cite evidence from the text to support your answer. Explain your evidence and write in complete sentences.
According to the narrator, why does he fail to kill the old man the first seven nights?
The old man awoke at the sound of the creaking door.
The narrator felt bad about what he was doing.
The old man was sleeping with both of his eyes closed.
The narrator's lantern woke the old man.
How does the narrator respond to the old man in the mornings that follow those seven nights? What does this reveal about the narrator?
Which statement does NOT apply to the narrator?
He is careful.
He is insane.
He is impatient.
He is deceptive.
Why doesn't this statement apply to the narrator? Explain how the narrator's actions show otherwise. Use the text in your answer and write in complete sentences.
Which figurative language technique is used in the following sentence?
"Yes, he was stone,
How do you figure? Explain how you know which figurative language technique is being used in the above example.
From what perspective is the story narrated?
Can the reader trust the narrator? Is the narrator reliable? Support your position with evidence from the text and explain your evidence.
What sound causes the narrator to hasten or rush the murder of the old man?
The sound of the old man's heart
The sound of the old man groaning
The sound of the clock ticking
The sound of a police officer arriving
The sound of the narrator's thumb slipping on the lantern
How do you know this? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.
Why do the police officers come to the narrator's home?
They are responding to reports of an escaped mental patient in the area.
The old man called the police after being attacked.
A neighbor contacted the police after hearing a scream.
They heard a loud banging noise while out on patrol.
How does the narrator respond to the police officers?
Which of the following is NOT one of the steps that the narrator took to cover up his crime?
He burns the clothes that he was wearing.
He chops up the old man's body in the bathtub.
He puts the old man's body under the floorboards.
He charms the police officers and tells them lies.
Summarize the steps that the narrator took to commit his crime in your own words. Include at least four steps and explain why he took each step.
How does the narrator get caught?
The police officers trick the narrator into admitting his guilt.
A witness told the police officers what happened.
The police officers coerce the narrator into confessing.
The narrator confesses because he hears noises in his head.
What is the real reason why the narrator confessed to his crime? Support your answer with text and explain what the text is showing.
The Tell-Tale Heart
By Edgar Allan Poe