“The Pit and the Pendulum”


Answer the following questions as you read the story.


  1. What sentence have the judges just given the narrator at the beginning of the story?



  1. What happens to the narrator at the end of the first paragraph?



  1. “In the return to life from the swoon there are two stages; first, that of the sense of __________________________; secondly, that of the sense of ________________________.  (p. 231)
  2. “But if the impressions of what I have termed the first stage, are not, at will, recalled, yet after long interval do they not come ____________________, while we marvel whence they came?” ( p. 231)
  3. How had the narrator arrived in the dungeon where it is flat and damp? (p. 232)



  1. “Very suddenly there came back to my soul motion and sound – the tumultuous motion of __________________________, and, in my ears, the sound of its _____________________________.”  (p. 232)
  2. Why had the narrator not opened his eyes? (p. 232)



  1. “The blackness of ________________________ encompassed me.” (p. 232)
  2. The narrator has a sudden fearful idea.  What does he imagine may have happened to him?  (p. 233)



  1. Why did the narrator tear a part of the hem of the serge robe he was wearing and place it on the floor?  (p. 233)



  1. When he awoke, what did the narrator find beside him?  (p. 233)



  1. The narrator resumes his walk around the dungeon and estimates its size.  What estimate does he make?  (p. 234)


  1. The narrator begins to cross the width of the dungeon but falls.  What does he discover?



  1. When the narrator awakes after drinking the pitcher of water, what does he discover about the size of the room he is in?  (p. 235)



  1. The narrator studies the wall and finds that instead of it being made of masonry, it is made of _________________. (p. 235)
  2. The narrator realizes that while he was in a drugged sleep, his captors bound him to a wooden framework.  What parts of his body is he able to move?  (p. 236)



  1. What image painted on the ceiling riveted the narrator’s attention?  What does the image seem to be holding?  (p. 236)



  1. How does the narrator realize that what the figure on the ceiling is holding is not a painted image?  (p. 236)



  1. What had come up out of the well in the floor?  (p. 236)



  1. When the narrator again looks at the ceiling, what disturbs him?  (p. 237)



  1. Because he had not fallen into the pit, how do his captors now plan to kill him?  (p. 237)



  1. “As I put a portion of it within my lips, there rushed to my mind a half-formed thought of _____________________, of _________________.” (p. 238)
  2. What does the narrator rub over the bandage that ties him to the wooden framework?  Why does he do this?  (p. 239)



  1. How does he escape death by the pendulum?  (p. 240)



  1. The narrator notices the pendulum immediately rises up once he escapes it and realizes that his every motion is being watched.  “I had escaped death in one form of agony, to be delivered unto worse than _____________________ in some other.” (p. 240)




  1. “Unreal! – Even while I breathed there came to my nostrils the breath of the vapor of the _________________________.” (p. 240)
  2. What was happening to the walls of the dungeon?  (p. 241)



  1. Where do these walls drive the narrator?  (p. 241)



  1. “There was a discordant hum of human voices! There was a loud blast as of many ___________________________.” (p. 241)
  2. Who caught the narrator’s hand?  (p. 241)