Use Edgar Allan Poe Quotes to Help Teach Poe’s Short Stories

It’s October, which means tons of high school and middle school students will read stories by Edgar Allan Poe.

Of course, you can teach these stories any time of year. I always reserved February for Poe, with a little “Anabel Lee” around Valentine’s Day.

So in honor of the month of Halloween, I present Edgar Allan Poe quotes that will help your students understand Poe’s short stories and poems.

A Quick Lesson Plan

But before we get to Edgar Allan Poe Quotes, I’d like to give you this American Romanticism lesson plan. Understanding American Romanticism gives students context for their Poe studies: American Romanticism Lesson Plan.

A Quick Writing Assignment

After reading some Poe short stories and/or poems, have students take one of these quotes and find evidence in Poe’s works that exemplify it.

Another option would be to write one of these quotes on the board each day for a journal entry. Students can write about the specific aspect in the quote as it applies to Poe’s work.

Or you can just use this Powerpoint of Poe Quotes.

Edgar Allan Poe Quotes

Edgar Allan Poe Quote about InsanityMany of Poe’s short stories contain narrators who lack sanity. It can be logically assumed that Poe himself had bouts of insanity. Although as he puts it, he had bouts of sanity surrounded by long periods of insanity. Understanding the unreliability of Poe’s narrators will give the Poe reader a different lens for analysis.


Edgar Allan Poe Quote about Depression

Poe suffered from depression, or as this quote calls it, melancholy. Poe’s manic depressive nature clearly flows into his narrators and characters. This trait in Poe’s characters—especially his narrators—adds another layer of analysis for the young Poe scholar.

Edgar Allan Poe Quote about MoodMood plays an extremely important role in Poe’s short stories. This provides an excellent opportunity for teaching the importance of word choice. Related to the role of word choice is the complex sentence structure Poe uses in many of his short stories.

Edgar Allan Poe Lesson Plans

I think now would be a good time to throw in a little advertisement for Edgar Allan Poe Short Story Lesson Plans. These plans are pretty much exactly what I use when I teach Poe.


Poe is known as the Master of Suspense, and for good reason. Because of his fame in the realm of suspense and gothic horror, however, his incredible writing talent is overlooked. One aspect of Poe’s writing that gives his works so much power is his descriptive prowess—his ability to use imagery. I’ll link here to one of the most horrifying images ever written in English from “The Pit and the Pendulum.”


Image result for edgar allan poe short story quotesThose familiar with American Romanticism (see lesson plan pdf above) are familiar with the Romantics’ fascination with death and the supernatural. And those who think American Romanticism deals with the courting habits of the Founding Fathers are probably still aware that Poe has a fascination with death and the supernatural.

Poe’s ability to make an impression on the reader makes him one of the world’s most read and most popular writer over a century after his death. Think about it: Stories written in the mid-1800s are still considered suspenseful and horror-filled—notwithstanding all the technological developments and horror desensitization over the past 150 years.

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