Simmons’ scary stories

English III classes read and analyze Edgar Allan Poe’s Masque of the Red Death


photo credit: By Ryah Hill

English excitements // Explaining Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, English III teacher Mrs. Elizabeth Simmons shares her favorite short story to her first period class Oct. 30 in honor of the last day of Teen-Tober. Teen-Tober, hosted by the librarians, encouraged teen reading around the school. “Poe is a master of the macabre, so what a better time to delve into his work than Halloween?” Simmons said.

writer: Ryah Hill, Staff Reporter

The Red Plague, a disease caused by rats, made its way into Europe, killing over half of the population. However, this devastating disease caused inspiration in writers like Edgar Allan Poe. Many of his stories entered into English teacher Elizabeth Simmons’ classroom, one specifically Oct. 30. There were no killings or oozing red blood but for sure some curiosity and analyzation about this interesting story, The Masque of the Red Death

“Blood was its Avatar and its seal—the redness and the horror of blood,” are words from writer Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, Masque of the Red Death. This story follows a prosperous prince during the time of the infamous plague, the Red Death, and the frightening results of the horrific disease. 

“’The Masque of the Red Death’ is an Edgar Allan Poe short story, and in English III, we are beginning a study on Poe,” Mrs. Simmons said. “Poe is a master of the macabre, so what a better time to delve into his work than Halloween?”

The students listened to an audio of the story, cringing and gagging at the sound at some of the gory imagery read aloud to them.

To add to the effect, Simmons dressed up as a victim of the plague as described in the story. 

Poe is a master of the macabre, so what a better time to delve into his work than Halloween?”

— Coach Simmons, English teacher

“Other English teachers also dressed up as their favorite characters from their favorite books.

“The month of October is designated as Teen-tober to celebrate and encourage teen reading, and on the last day of this event (known as Wild West Wednesday), teachers are encouraged to dress up like one of their favorite characters in a book or short story,” Mrs. Simmons said. “Since I was teaching Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘Masque of the Red Death,’ I decided to dress up like that character.”

Teen-tober around the school encouraged all students to appreciate reading. Each day, the library offered fun events to students that correlated to reading. 

In Mrs. Simmons’ class, even after Teen-tober comes to a close, they will continue to analyze Poe’s story and its complex meaning.

The Masque of the Red Death’ is one of my favorites because of the historical context and symbolism,” Mrs. Simmons said.