AS LITERATURE IN ENGLISH: SYLLABUS 9695
NOTES FOR TEACHERS ON STORIES SET FOR STUDY FROM
STORIES OF OURSELVES: THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE INTERNATIONAL EXAMINATIONS ANTHOLOGY OF SHORT STORIES IN ENGLISH
FOR EXAMINATION IN JUNE AND NOVEMBER 2010, 2011 AND 2012
Introduction: How to use these notes
1.The Fall of the House of UsherEdgar Allen Poe
2.The Open BoatStephen Crane
3.The Door in the WallHG Wells
4.The People BeforeMaurice Shadbolt
5.A Horse and Two GoatsRK Narayan
7.To Da-Duh, In MemoriamPaule Marshall
8.Of White Hairs and CricketRohinton Mistry
These notes are intended to give some background information on each author and/or story as an aid to further research and to stimulate discussion in the classroom.
They are intended only as a starting point and are no substitute for the teacher’s and student’s own study and exploration of the texts.
Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849)
The Fall of the House of Usher
This is one of the most famous gothic stories from one of the masters of the genre and contains many of the traditional elements of the genre, including horror, death, medievalism, an ancient building and signs of great psychological disturbance. The mood of oppressive melancholy is established at the opening of the story and here readers may note an acknowledgement of the appeal of gothic fiction: while there is fear and horror, the shudder is ‘thrilling’ and the ‘sentiment’ is ‘half-pleasurable’.
At the centre of the story are mysteries, about the psychological state of Usher himself and about his sister’s illness and death. The story only offers hints and suggestions; there is an ‘oppressive secret’, while the sister, buried in a strangely secure vault, returns as if risen from the dead to claim her brother. In archetypal gothic fashion, a raging storm of extreme...