Masque of the Red Death: Essay & project ideas

Posted May 25, 2012 by 1 Comment

Over the past week, we’ve featured some of the more educational aspects of Bethany Griffin’s Masque of the Red Death, which was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s short story of the same name. Today we’re ending by providing some possible essay topics and project ideas.


  • Compare and contrast Griffin’s Masque of the Red Death to Poe’s short story. What particular references to Poe did you find in the novel?
  • Many scholars have debated whether or not Poe’s short story is an allegory. Argue for or against this concept.
  • Discuss the symbolism in Poe’s short story. Is that symbolism reflected in Griffin’s novel?
  • Griffin’s novel is quite dark (as is Poe’s short story). Given all the recent criticism that YA literature in general is too dark, use classic examples to argue for or against this assertion.

Project ideas:

  • Devastating plagues have swept the world multiple times throughout history. Research some of them and plot them on a timeline.
  • Because Griffin’s book dabbles with science v. religion, go a step further and see where religious movements fit into the above timeline. Is there a pattern?
  • Poe’s short story is told from an omniscient point-of-view, while Griffin’s novel is told from Araby’s. Place Araby in Poe’s short story and rewrite it from her perspective.
  • Given the ending of Poe’s short story, brainstorm ideas of how Griffin’s series will end.
  • Read Poe’s short story and draw a diagram of the layout of the colored rooms. Plot out (or “block”) the characters’ movements.

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