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A gothic story
Activity 2

A gothic story

The Murders In the Rue Morgue

Paris, July 7, 1840. In the early morning today the people in the western part of the city were awakened from their sleep by cries of terror, which came, it seemed, from a house in the street called the Rue Morgue. The only persons living in the house were an old woman, Mrs. L’Espanaye, and her daughter. Several neighbors and a police- man ran toward the house, but by the time they reached it the cries had stopped. When no one answered their calls, they forced the door open.

As they rushed in they heard voices, two voices; they seemed to come from above. The group hurried from room to room, but they found nothing until they reached the fourth floor. There they found a door that was firmly closed, locked, with the key inside. Quickly they forced the door open, and they saw spread before them a bloody sickening scene—a scene of horror!

The room was in the wildest possible order—broken chairs and tables were lying all around the room. There was only one bed, and from it everything had been taken and thrown into the middle of the floor. There was blood everywhere, on the floor, on the bed, on the walls. A sharp knife covered with blood was lying on the floor. In front of the fireplace there was some long gray hair, also bloody; it seemed to have been pulled from a human head. On the floor were four pieces of gold, an earring, several objects made of silver, and two bags containing a large amount of money in gold. Clothes had been thrown around the room. A box was found under the bed covers. It was open, and held only a few old letters and papers.

There was no one there—or so it seemed. Above the fireplace they found the dead body of the daughter; it had been put up into the opening where the smoke escapes to the sky. The body was still warm. There was blood on the face, and on the neck there were dark, deep marks which seemed to have been made by strong fingers.


  • sharp ≠ blunt (adj.)
  • sickening (adj.)
  • fireplace /ˈfaɪəˌplεɪs/ / chimney (n.)

Grammar in progress

Le past perfect

a. Que remarquez-vous dans les propositions soulignées ? Laquelle est différente ?

b. Que comprenez-vous sur les actions concernées ?

Exercices p. 132 Précis grammatical p. 279


Read the text.
Then, click on your path!


Workbook p. 62
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Present the action: Who? Where? When?

What is your impression when you read the text? Why?

Useful vocabulary:
It may sound morbid but...
I feel a bit anxious....

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In a few lines, explain what is happening in the text.

What are the elements of horror? Give examples.

Useful vocabulary:
In short, the story is about...
The horrific elements are...

Let's talk this out!

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Share your findings with your classmates.

Why does Edgar Allan Poe use so many details?

Useful vocabulary: All the details create a feeling of...

Over to you!

Becoming a movie director

Let’s use what you have learnt in and / or in !

You are a movie director and you want to adapt a gothic story into a modern gothic film. Write the synopsis of your film in order to send it to various production studios.

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