51 pages 1 hour read

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1962

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After Reading

Discussion/Analysis Prompt

An unreliable narrator tells a story in the first person, but the accuracy of the details is under question. Merricat, the story’s Misunderstood Genius, is such a narrator. For example, Merricat reports that Uncle Julian says Merricat is dead, but Merricat implies she is present for the events described in the novel. Which information is accurate? Readers have no way of knowing. What is the effect of Merricat’s unreliability on the story as it unfolds?

Teaching Suggestion: You may want to post a chart and ask students to offer other examples of Merricat’s unreliability. Record students’ suggestions.

Differentiation Suggestion: Offer a strategy for the analysis for English learners by using frames: Merricat is truthful/a liar (circle one). I know this because _____. She says _____, and/but _____. She reports _____, and/but _____. She states _____, and/but _____.


Use this activity to engage all types of learners, while requiring that they refer to and incorporate details from the text over the course of the activity.

“I Have Always Lived in the Castle”

Echoing the title, Merricat says of the burned Blackwood house, “Our house was a castle, turreted and open to the sky.” In this activity, students are asked to build models of the places they “have always lived.

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