Annabel Lee Discussion Questions

Instructor: Maria Airth

Maria has a Doctorate of Education and over 20 years of experience teaching psychology and math related courses at the university level.

'Annabel Lee' by Edgar Allan Poe is a beautiful story of love and loss. The discussion questions offered in this asset will help your students delve deeply into many aspects of this classic work.

Annabel Lee

Edgar Allan Poe is known for his dark or foreboding work. Annabel Lee does meet the expected theme of death, but diverges from his norm by being a love story. There is so much in the work for students to discuss that you may want to plan multiple discussion sessions for your students to delve into the work fully.

These discussion question samples are designed for high school students who have already read the work and have a general understanding of poetry in general.

Character Discussion Questions

  • What type of person is Annabel Lee? Are we given enough information about her character? What makes you feel this way?
  • Who is the speaker? Is the speaker wealthy? What clues do we get about the life of the speaker?
  • Would you consider the referenced angels as characters in this poem? What standards must be met for an entity to be thought of as a true character in a story? Does Annabel Lee, herself, meet those criteria?

Discussion Questions on the Story

  • In laymen's terms, discuss the action of this poem. What has actually happened? How did it happen?
  • Poe is known for morbidity in his work. Do you think that this poem is morbid? Why or why not?
  • How old do you think Annabel Lee was when she died? The poem refers to the two as children, but it is clearly a love story. Were these two kids that really liked each other and one tragically died in childhood, scarring the other for life? Or, were they older, maybe late teens or early twenties and actually in the process of dating? What evidence supports your theory?
  • How did Annabel die? What evidence is there for your opinion? What does the speaker believe about her death? Do you think that the speaker really knows that it was an illness, but wants to believe that it was caused by jealous angels?
  • How old do you think the speaker is at the time of the story? Do you think he has pined for his love for decades or just a short time? What gives you that impression? Do you think you would respond the same way to losing a childhood love?

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