51 pages 1 hour read

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1962

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.

Before Reading

Reading Context

Use these questions or activities to help gauge students’ familiarity with and spark their interest in the context of the work, giving them an entry point into the text itself.

Short Answer

What is the nature of your relationship with one or all of your siblings? In what ways has this relationship influenced your own development? If you do not have a sibling, discuss a relationship with a cousin or close friend.

Teaching Suggestion: You might want to introduce the novel with the statistic that nearly 80% of people have siblings. As such, the social, psychological, and familial development of the majority of people is influenced by sibling relationships. At the same time, consider saying that for many people who don’t have siblings, a cousin or close friend often plays a very similar role. 

  • This article from the National Library of Medicine describes psychological perspectives on sibling relationships.
  • This article from The Guardian reflects on the enduring nature of sibling relationships.

Short Activity

In the novel, the narrator buries objects in the yard that she thinks will protect her living family members. Draw or photograph an object that holds a special place in your family. Then, write about its importance in a journal entry in which you analyze the likely reasons for the object’s importance.

Related Titles

By Shirley Jackson