Uncle Dougie's Suitcase

This study guide will help you analyze the short story “Uncle Dougie’s Suitcase” by Alastair Chisholm, which has been used for a written exam in English B STX on the 2 December 2020. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it. 

Presentation of the text

Title: “Uncle Dougie’s Suitcase” (2018)
Author: Alastair Chisholm
Genre: Short story

Alastair Chisholm is a writer and software developer. He has written several children’s books, such as The Prince and the Witch and the sci-fi novel Orion Lost. The short story “Uncle Dougie’s Suitcase” was included in the anthology And Nothing Remains by The Fiction Desk, published in August 2018. 

Extract

Here, you can read an extract from our study guide:

Similes

The short story makes use of similes to paint vivid pictures in the readers’ minds. Uncle Dougie’s overcoat “looked and smelled like something recently dead” (l. 13). The simile suggests Uncle Dougie is untidy, even unclean, and careless about his appearance. This shows that he does not care too much about social norms like showering or dressing up. In Douglas’s opinion, this also lends credibility to the claim that the overcoat is made from a bear Uncle Dougie killed himself. 

When telling Douglas about the Rule, Uncle Dougie stares at him in a way which makes Douglas think it is “like a command from God; like Moses in the old Sunday movies when he was really angry and about to smash everything up” (ll. 89-90). The religious connotations of the simile highlight the forbidden nature of the Rule, which is unbreakable and sacred, like one of the Ten Commandments from the Bible. 

The sounds they hear after Charlie’s disappearance are described “like someone had started to yell (…) like they’d managed half a shout before something stopped them” (ll. 105-106). This simile helps the listener picture the scene more vividly. In this way, Uncle Dougie leads Douglas into imagining what ...

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Uncle Dougie's Suitcase

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