In his definition of the short story, Poe stated that “truth is often, and in very great degree, the aim of the short story.” In other words, in addition to being constructed to achieve a single effect, short stories are often written to make a point, or express a general truth about life. The general truth a story expresses is the story’s theme. There have been many different interpretations of the theme of “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Students will read 6 themes, choose one, and find evidence and a key passage to support the theme they have chosen. There is an attached handout to complete. For high-level students, this can work well independently, for conventional college-prep students, this activity works best in groups of about 3.