The Oval Portrait

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The Oval Portrait

Edgar Allan Poe published "The Oval Portrait" in 1842.

This short story is presented as a frame tale--one story is used to "frame" another or, in this case, to introduce another story.

1809-1849

A narrator opens the story by describing a stormy evening when his valet breaks into an old chalet to seek shelter for both of them, because the narrator has been seriously injured and needs to rest. The interior of the old house appears bizarre to the narrator, with paintings of all shapes and sizes everywhere. Oddly, there is also a journal or book that provides a critique of each painting. Finally the narrator's eyes fall on an oval shaped portrait of a beautiful woman, and he is mesmerized by it. He finally finds the page in the journal that tells the story of "The Oval Portrait" . . . watch and enjoy!

After listening to the story, respond to these questions in complete sentences. Some of the questions do not have "right" or "wrong" answers; rather, they ask for your evaluation of a certain element in the story. For the final question, you do not need to write in complete sentences.

3. Describe each character with terms such as static or dynamic and round or flat. Support your answers.

4. What is the theme of this story, in your opinion?

1. What is the point of view in this story? Why do you think Poe chose this point of view?

2. Who is the main character, in your opinion? Support your answer.

Poe's portrait and signature from commons.wikimedia.org

5. List as many interesting adjectives and adverbs as you can as you listen to this story. You might need to listen a second time!


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