Background Knowledge • In the story, an unnamed narrator has been sentenced to death during the time of the Spanish Inquisition—the Catholic government wanted to punish Jews who converted to Christianity but were not really "sincere" in their conversions. • There is a great deal of irony in this. First people are told that they have to convert or they will be put to death, then, when they do convert, the decision is to kill them anyway because their conversions are not "sincere."
Do you know who King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella are? They are the monarchs who backed Christopher Columbus in his discovery of America. However, here is something that only a few people know about them. The marriage of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in 1469 unified Spain. Prior to their reign, Spain was a collection of provinces- the two primary being Aragon and Castile.
Background Knowledge When Ferdinand of Aragon married Isabella of Castile, these two provinces were united by marriage into a mighty kingdom.
Isabella was a "fervent" Christian so she asked the Pope for permission to set up an Inquisition to weed out the heresy in the Christian world. The Pope agreed. The goal was to get rid of heretics in Christianity. A heretic is anyone who does not conform.
The Short Story Begins Your Tasks Include: (Take notes on attached sheets.) • Read“The Pit and the Pendulum”by Edgar Allan Poe with a partner. • Summarizebasic elements (plot, characters, setting, narrator) • Identifythe emotions revealed in the work • Createan original piece portraying these emotions.
Review: · Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849) was an American author best known for his dark short stories and poems. · Poe experienced tragedy in his life. He was born into poverty. His father was an alcoholic who left when Edgar was young. His mother died of tuberculosis. His foster parents died, and he lived and died in poverty.
What you need to complete: • With your partner read the storyand briefly summarize the following elements:
Plot: Give a brief summary of the piece. While you are reading stop after each paragraph to make sure you UNDERSTAND what is being read. • Setting: Describe the setting. What words or phrases help paint the picture? • Characters: How does Poe portray the characters? • Perspective: Who is the narrator? Describe this person’s feelings. Isit written in third or first person? How does this affect the piece?
Explore the story • With your partner explore the work as a psychological thriller. • What human emotions are revealed? (fear, sadness, regret, loneliness, obsession, anticipation, and helplessness.) • Identify and write words and phrases that portray these emotions.
Ideas that come to mind after reading “The Pit and the Pendulum,” • horror stories, terror, fear, death, darkness, murder, obsession, insanity, sadness, loss, guilt, torture, and the unknown.
Think about • Think about events or images from your experiences that give you the same emotions. • For example, what have you experienced, read about, or saw in a movie that may have sparked fear or loneliness?
Finally … • Work individually to create an original piece that portrays these deep emotions. • Youmay make a poster, write a poem or short story, or even record a song. • Be sure to use some of Poe’s words and phrases in your finished piece.