''The Tell-Tale Heart'' by Edgar Allan Poe

Contributor: Rebecca Hann. Lesson ID: 10780

It's amazing how stories can affect your feelings! Good authors can set an atmosphere. Explore how Edgar Allan Poe gets to the heart of mood and tone with one of his most famous short stories!


Literary Studies, Writing

English / Language Arts
learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Lion, Otter
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • Can the dead speak?
  • How would you feel if they could?

Watch this clip from the funny movie Shaun of the Dead where the main characters think a zombie is singing with them!

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This is definitely NOT the mood Edgar Allan Poe sets in his short story "The Tell-Tale Heart!"

Edgar Allan Poe was a famous writer from the 1800s who wrote both prose and poetry.

He was well-known for his works of mystery and horror, and his death in 1849 is also surrounded by mystery. Explore this Poe Biography to learn more about his life, work, and death.

Poe was famous for his ability to establish mood and tone with his writing. Authors establish mood and tone in many ways.


Mood is a literary element that evokes certain feelings or vibes from readers by using words and descriptions.

It is sometimes referred to as the atmosphere of the writing.

Some words that would describe mood are peaceful, calm, and even depressing.

It is the feeling you get when you read the piece.


Tone is the manner in which writers approach a subject or theme. Their word choice and attitude through their writing sets the tone.

Some words that would describe tone are unhappy and upbeat.

The readers infer — or make an informed guess about — the author's tone based on what they have read; their evidence is the words in the text.

The tone of the writing usually establishes the mood. The words used to describe the tone of a piece of writing may also be used to describe the mood of the literary work.

Look at the two videos below to help clarify the difference between mood and tone.

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Next, complete the following quiz to test your knowledge of mood and tone.

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Then, head over to the Got It? section.

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