by William Blake
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
The Cask of Amontillado
- Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado" (1846) is a suspenseful short story told from the perspective of a murder. This story is a great way to introduce the concept of unreliable narrators, point of view (generally), and suspense as a literary device.Pair “The Cask of Amontillado” with “A Poison Tree” and ask students to discuss the themes of revenge and hatred in both texts. Why do both speakers seek revenge? How have they handled their hatred for their enemies?
- Sir Francis Bacon
In this passage, Bacon discusses the notion of revenge, why some seek it, and the consequences of this fixation.Pair “On Revenge” with “A Poison Tree” and ask students to consider Sir Bacon’s position on revenge in the context of the poem. Would Sir Bacon approve of the speaker’s motivations for revenge? Under what circumstances would the speaker’s action be considered more understandable?
- H.G. Wells
In “The Cone,” an ironworks manager leads his friend on an eerie tour of his company shortly after discovering a secret.Pair “The Cone” with “A Poison Tree” and ask students to compare Horrocks to the speaker of the poem. How does each text depict the act of seeking revenge? How do these characters react when they finally enact their revenge, and what does this reveal about their characters?
The Roof of Leaves
- Donna L. Washington
In Donna L. Washington’s short story “The Roof of Leaves,” a husband and a wife are able to save their marriage due to quick thinking after a fight.Pair “A Poison Tree” with “The Roof of Leaves” and ask students to discuss how both texts explore anger and forgiveness. What might have happened if the husband and wife had not forgiven each other in “The Roof of Leaves”? How do both texts explore the importance of forgiveness? How do both texts answer what can happen when one holds onto a grudge?
God Sees the Truth, But Waits
- Leo Tolstoy translated by Aylmer Maude
In Leo Tolstoy’s short story, “God Sees the Truth, But Waits”, a man is convicted of a crime that he didn’t commit.Pair “A Poison Tree” with “God Sees the Truth, But Waits” and ask students to discuss how anger and bitterness can grow. How does the anger that Aksionov initially feels when he realizes who framed him negatively affect him? What do students think would have happened if he had “watered” and “sunned” his wrath, as the speaker of the poem did? What was he able to accomplish by forgiving Makar?