“The Ridley Place jutted into a sharp curve beyond our house. Walking south, one faced its porch; the sidewalk turned and ran beside the lot. The house was low, was once white with a deep front porch and green shutters, but had long ago darkened to the colour of the slate-grey yard around it. Rain-rotted shingles* dropped over the eaves of the verandah; oak trees kept the sun away. The remains of a picket drunkenly guarded the front yard- a “swept” yard that was never swept – where Johnson grass and rabbit –tobacco grew in abundance.”
excerpted from “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee”
shingles- wood pieces on roof slate - dark grey rock picket – fence made of pointed wooden sticks
What is your impression of the Ridley Place?
- Run-down (dilapidated)
What is the mood of the Ridley Place?
- Bright and cheery
Underline the details which led to your conclusion in Qn 1 & 2
If you have thought that the Ridley Place is in a state of disrepair (dilapidated) with a depressing mood then you have followed the description of the picture. Some details which have conjured the impression and the mood include:
- “once white… but now darkened into the colour of …”
- “rain-rotted shingles dropped over”
- “oak tree kept the sun away”
- “remains of a picket drunkenly guarded
- ” a swept yard that was never swept
- “where johnson grass and rabbit-tobacco grew in abundance”
(referring to some wild grass growing unchecked)
Return to the excerpt and you would notice that the author
- states in the first sentence what is to be described
- gives a number of concrete details
- organises the details
Notice the use of vivid adjectives, strong verbs and adverbs: not just shingles but “rain-rotted shingles”; not “lay” but “drooped”; not “picket guarded” but “picket drunkenly guarded. The last description conjures up, metaphorically, the image of a sloppy, slouching soldier untidily attired who could barely stand upright for his duty.