The Castle

This study guide will help you analyze the short story “The Castle” by Chloë Heuch, which has been used for a written exam in English HF B on the 17th of May 2023. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it.

If you need help with Assignments 1-5 from the HF B exam on the 17th of May 2023, you can find our guide here.

Presentation of the text

Title: “The Castle” (2021) 
Author: Chloë Heuch
Genre: Short story

Chloë Heuch is a Welsh writer and teacher. She has published several short stories and a young adult novel Too Dark to See (2020). 


The castle is an important symbol in the story and illustrates the changes in the relationship between the narrator and her oldest son. First, the architecture of the castle is a significant element, pointing to two opposing attitudes. At the start of their visit to the castle, the narrator remarks on Osian’s closed-off mood: “he had retreated inside the walls of himself. The portcullis was well and truly down.” Here, the narrator finds herself unable to connect with Osian, as he refuses to engage with her or to show her what he is feeling. Therefore, the castle symbolizes the barrier between Osian and the narrator and the lack of connection between them.

On the other hand, the walls of the castle take on a completely different meaning at the end of the story. When the narrator realizes that she needs to allow Osian to make his own choices, she compares herself to the castle walls: “Enduring. Always ready to protect him if he needed me.” Here the castle walls symbolize the narrator’s protectiveness and support for Osian, allowing him the chance to come back to her if he needs her.

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The Castle

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