Presenting Poe to Young Minds

My annotation of Poe is a digital edition of Hop-Frog, tailored to middle school aged readers. Around the age of 11 was when I first read a Poe tale, and fell in love with the dark aspects of his story telling. In school we only read The Raven, and I was disappointed by the lack of Poe that was accessible to someone my age. The vocabulary was often tough to get through and the references were way over my head, so I wanted to create a story-telling environment with my annotations and digital edition that made Poe more approachable to younger people.

Once I decided on my audience, it was clear to me that I needed to create a digital edition of my work. It is easier to access and more convenient for teachers to assign to their students. Also, most pre-teens are less likely to check out a book about Poe that looks boring and has hundreds of pages; they would be more admissible to a website with tales and poems that have helpful annotations alone the way.

My design layout for the digital exhibiton

As seen in my design plan, the website is very dark, to set the mood for the story, with white writing, and pictures fading out of the black background. The phrases and words that have annotations are highlighted yellow. When the reader hovers their mouse over a highlighted phrase, a pop-up will appear that contains the annotation. I didn’t want my annotations to be too busy, or intimidate readers away from the story, so I decided that the pop-up function was best. It keeps the annotations hidden, and they only appear if/when the reader wishes to see them, which is less distracting to the story.

I chose Hop-Frog because it is a reasonable story for pre-teens and young teens to read for various reasons. First, the length is short enough to keep the tale interesting but long enough to have the need for annotations. Also, the story has the classic Poe horror that is enticing to many readers, but it’s not too gruesome or gory for a younger age group. The main reason I picked Hop-Frog, however, is that I had never read the story before this semester. Often, middle schoolers are just exposed to The Raven, Annabel Lee, and Tell-Tale Heart. I wanted to give young readers a lesser known story that’s short, exciting, and historical in context.

My edition of Hop-Frog is very beneficial to Poe’s legacy, for many reasons. The young audience would get a new generation of readers interested in Poe and eager to learn more about him and his tales. The use of one of his lesser-known stories would help the readers branch out beyond the classics we all know and not be afraid to look up more works of Poe that go beyond the stereotypical inclusions in their English textbooks. Also, the way that my annotations are designed to work on the site allow my voice to give direction and guidance to the reader, but they don’t detract from the flow and plot that Poe so carefully crafted. Most importantly, the digital aspect of the edition means that it will be the most easily accessible way to read, enjoy, and learn about Edgar Allan Poe and his amazing tales.

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