A great way to help students dig into analysis is through the creation of storyboards that examine Tone, Word Choice, Imagery, Style, and Theme. This activity is referred to with the acronym “TWIST”. In a TWIST, students focus on a particular paragraph or few pages, to look deeper at the author’s meaning.
Using any paragraph of “The Tell-Tale Heart”, students can examine, depict, explain, and foreshadow what will happen in the story to asses the tone of the story.
TRUE! - nervous - very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses - not destroyed - not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily - how calmly I can tell you the whole story.
It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture - a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees - very gradually - I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.
|Delusional: The narrator states that he is completely rational, but his obsessive, manic, and homicidal behavior says otherwise.|
|nervous, mad, disease, destroyed, Hell, “my blood ran cold”, “to take the life”, “rid myself... forever”.|
|“I think it was his eye! Yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture - a pale blue eye, with a film over it.”|
|The narrator attempts to use rhetoric to make the reader believe that he is not insane. In the following lines: “TRUE! -nervous - very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?”; “Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold, I had no desire. …”.|
|The narrator states resolutely that he is not insane. However, it is clear that he is disturbed. The theme of this work is that not all narrators are reliable. Just because they present their reality, does not mean the reader has to accept it as truth.|
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)
Perform a TWIST analysis of a selection from "The Tell-Tale Heart". Remember that TWIST stands for Tone, Word Choice, Imagery, Style, Theme.
Grade Level 6-12
Difficulty Level 4 (Difficult / Complex)
Type of Assignment Individual, Partner, or Group
Type of Activity: Prose Analysis with TWISTCommon Core Standards
(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)
| Proficient |
| Emerging |
| Beginning |
| Try Again |
Each aspect of TWIST is analyzed thoroughly and thoughtfully. The tone(s) is/are correctly identified and explained and are supported by evidence. The word choice uses a healthy sample of words from the excerpt that are loaded with connotation, associations, or emotional impact. The chosen imagery highlights sense impressions created by the writer and indicates the author's attitude or evokes a particular reaction from the reader. The author's style is discussed in terms of figurative language, point of view, literary techniques, punctuation, etc. The theme identified highlights the meaning of the passage and offers insight, and it is supported by evidence from the text.
Most of the aspects of TWIST are analyzed thoroughly and thoughtfully. In discussing the aspects, the student may have forgotten key evidence, or they may be unclear in their analysis. The student shows a basic understanding of each of the parts of the acronym, but may not apply them fully to the selected passage.
Most aspects of TWIST are provided with basic evidence and quotes from the passage. The student may be able to identify the elements correctly, but not be able to explain them completely or reveal insight. The discussion is rudimentary and/or may seem rushed.
Some aspects of TWIST are missing or too limited to score, or most of the aspects of TWIST are incorrect. The student makes no attempt to reveal insight in his or her analysis.
The depictions of each aspect of TWIST are accurate to the passage, or provide an interesting, creative, or insightful visual interpretation of the element in the passage. It is evident that the student spent a lot of time, creativity, and effort into carefully crafting each artistic depiction.
Most of the depictions of each aspect of TWIST are accurate to the passage, or provide an interesting, creative, or insightful visual interpretation of the element in the passage. It is evident that the student stayed on task and put time and effort into crafting each artistic depiction.
Most of the depictions of each aspect of TWIST are accurate to the passage, but they are minimal. There may be some inaccuracies or evidence that the student strayed from the task at hand. The student may not have paid much attention to detail in crafting each depiction, and there may be evidence of rushing or limited effort.
Some of the depictions of each aspect of TWIST are inaccurate, missing, or too limited to score. It is evident that the student did not put a lot of time, effort, and creativity into crafting each artistic depiction.
Ideas are organized. Displays control of grammar, usage, and mechanics. Shows careful proofreading.
Ideas are organized. Contains few errors in grammar, usage and mechanics. Shows some proofreading.
Ideas are organized. Contains errors in grammar, usage and mechanics which interfere with communication. Shows a lack of proofreading.
Contains too many errors in grammar, usage and mechanics; (and/or) errors seriously interfere with communication. Shows a lack of proofreading.