51 pages 1 hour read

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1962

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During Reading

Reading Questions & Paired Texts

Reading Check and Short Answer Questions on key plot points are designed for guided reading assignments, in-class review, formative assessment, quizzes, and more.

Chapters 1-4

Reading Check

1. Where does Merricat like to imagine that she lives?

2. What does Uncle Julian remember about John Blackwood and his wife on their last night?

3. How much time has passed since that last night?

4. What does Helen Clarke encourage Constance to do?

5. Who visits the Blackwoods unexpectedly?

Short Answer

Answer each question in at least 1 complete sentence. Incorporate details from the text to support your response.

1. Why do Constance and Uncle Julian stay confined to the Blackwood property?

2. What is Merricat’s relation to the village and its people?

3. What is the purpose of the fence around the Blackwoods’ property?

4. What is the scandal involving Constance?

5. What suspicious behavior did Constance exhibit on the “last day”?

Paired Resource

Mending Wall

  • In this poem by Robert Frost, the speaker contemplates the nature of a wall. The Blackwood property is entirely surrounded by a fence.
  • Consider the role of the fence in the story. How does its presence affect the main characters?

The Lottery

  • This is the summary of Jackson’s most famous short story, which is set in a small town like the setting for We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

Related Titles

By Shirley Jackson