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Words of mystery
Activity 6

Words of mystery

Text A
Text A

She looked round the room. The window curtains seemed in motion. It could be nothing but the violence of the wind penetrating through the divisions of the shutters; and she stepped boldly forward, carelessly humming a tune, to assure herself of its being so, peeped courageously behind each curtain, saw nothing on either low window seat to scare her, and on placing a hand against the shutter, felt the strongest conviction of the wind’s force. [...] “She should take her time; she should not hurry herself; she did not care if she were the last person up in the house. But she would not make up her fire; that would seem cowardly, as if she wished for the protection of light after she were in bed.” The fire therefore died away, and Catherine, having spent the best part of an hour in her arrangements, was beginning to think of stepping into bed, when, on giving a parting glance round the room, she was struck by the appearance of a high, old-fashioned black cabinet, which, though in a situation conspicuous enough, had never caught her notice before.

Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen, 1803.
Text B
Text B

She took her candle and looked closely at the cabinet. It was not absolutely ebony and gold; but it was Japan, black and yellow Japan of the handsomest kind; and as she held her candle, the yellow had very much the effect of gold. The key was in the door, and she had a strange fancy to look into it; not, however, with the smallest expectation of finding anything, but it was so very odd, after what Henry had said. In short, she could not sleep till she had examined it. So, placing the candle with great caution on a chair, she seized the key with a very tremulous hand and tried to turn it; but it resisted her utmost strength. Alarmed, but not discouraged, she tried it another way; a bolt flew, and she believed herself successful; but how strangely mysterious! The door was still immovable. She paused a moment in breathless wonder. The wind roared down the chimney, the rain beat in torrents against the windows, and everything seemed to speak the awfulness of her situation. To retire to bed, however, unsatisfied on such a point, would be vain, since sleep must be impossible with the consciousness of a cabinet so mysteriously closed in her immediate vicinity.

Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen, 1803.
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You are in charge of one extract.

Sum up the extract. What can you say about the structure of the text and the length of the sentences? Workbook p. 64

Make a list of all the emotions felt by the main character.

Pick out all the elements that make the scenes more mysterious.

Useful vocabulary:
The scene feels more mysterious because...
... brings mystery to the scene as...

Let's talk this out!

Voir les réponses

Share your findings with your classmates and learn about the other excerpt.

Which excerpt is the most mysterious?

Is it a gothic story? Justify your answer.

Let's learn!

Dictionary game

  • Memorise the new words that you have learnt from this double page.
  • Select two words and write a definition for each of them.
  • Make your classmates guess which word you are talking about.

Over to you!

Reading out loud

Let’s use what you have learnt in and / or !

An audio book company is looking for voice artists. Record yourself reading one of these extracts to send your application. Pay attention to your tone and rhythm when you read (you can add background music with

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