Work Sheet: “The Riddle House”

Expected answers

to the questions on the text:

1) The text is in parts a descriptive text:

a. What mental picture does the reader get of the Riddle House?

Original state of the house:

➢ Fine-looking manor (l.4f.),

➢ Easily the largest and grandest building for miles around (l.6f.)

➢ Owners: rich, snobbish and rude (esp. the son) (l.27f.) and unpopular with the villagers

➢ Owners could afford servants (gardener, maid, cook))

Unchanged aspects

➢ On a hill, (l. 2)

➢ Overlooking the village (l. 2f.)

Present state of the house:

➢ Some windows boarded (l.4)

➢ Tiles missing from roof (l.4)

➢ Ivy spreading unchecked over its face (l.5)

➢ Damp, derelict and unoccupied (l.7f.)

➢ ‘creepy’ (l.10)

Solution/full text:

The Riddle House used to be a grand house, better than all the others in Hangleton, which is already indicated by its position on a hill overlooking the village, in the same way as the owners (“rich, snobbish and rude” [l. 28f.]) looked down on the villagers, who didn’t like them either (“most unpopular” [l. 27f.]). The house is described as “fine-looking”(l.5f.), “the largest and grandest building”(l. 5f.), “well kept and impressive” (l. 18). This impression of the house is further supported by the servants the Riddles obviously could afford: a maid, a cook and a gardener.

But now — fifty years later — the house has changed completely and fallen “in disrepair” (l. 104): nobody lives there any longer and the house has become “damp and derelict” (l. 7), with windows boarded and tiles on the roof missing, which gave the house a “creepy”(l. 10) appearance and atmosphere. Although the gardener keeps working there, the ivy is growing unhindered on the walls.

b. Which stylistic devices does the writer use to achieve a vivid description of the Riddle House?

1. Use of adjectives:

Appreciatory adjectives:



Descriptive adjectives:

the largest

Depreciatory adjectives:





2. appreciatory and depreciatory terms:

manor (appreciatory); in disrepair (depreciatory)

3. Contrastive technique:

➢ the positive description of the house formerly and the negative description of the house 50 years later

➢ the contrast between the Riddles’ wealth and their behaviour: rich but rude

➢ [ and contrast between the Riddles and the villagers: a strong feeling of dislike; the villagers did not even pretend to be sorry about the Riddles’ death]

The expected answers to the narrative part of the text are under "narrative texts"

2) The text is also a narrative text:

a. How many different time levels can you identify in this passage?

b. Briefly summarize the events which happened fifty years ago.

c. What kind of narrator tells us the story?

d. Which narrative techniques are used?

3) What impression does the reader get of the gardener? Write a characterization of Frank Bryce.

4) From which different viewpoints is the gardener characterized?

5) Find three different stylistic devices the writer uses

6) What makes the story interesting to read? Suspense? Humour? The characters?