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Click-Clack the Rattlebag Commonlit Answers

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  • 8th Grade
  • Lexile: 600

Source: Click-Clack the Rattlebag by Neil Gaiman

Assessment Answers

QuestionAnswer
Which statement best describes a theme within the story?Things are not always what they seem.
How does the line “We walked out of the warm and cosy kitchen into the hallway of the big house, where it was chilly and draughty and dark” (Paragraph 21) help develop suspense in the story?It describes a change in the atmosphere.
What does the word unsettling mean, as used in Paragraph 24?uncomfortable
Which piece of evidence best supports the idea that the narrator was possibly near or around a Click-Clack?“I heard things rattle gently, like dry bones in thin bags” (Paragraph 59)

Analyze how the author develops the characters’ different points of view in order to build suspense throughout the story.

In “Click-Clack the Rattlebag,” Neil Gaiman masterfully develops the characters’ different points of view to build suspense throughout the story. This methodical development of perspectives contributes significantly to the narrative’s tension and intrigue, culminating in a gripping, suspenseful atmosphere. Here’s how Gaiman accomplishes this:

  1. The Narrator’s Skepticism and Curiosity: The story is told from the narrator’s perspective, who is initially skeptical and somewhat dismissive of the young boy’s fears and the concept of the Click-Clack. This skepticism is evident when the narrator questions the existence of Click-Clack stories and seems to indulge the boy’s request for a story more out of a sense of duty than belief. The narrator’s curiosity, however, gradually leads him—and the reader—deeper into the mystery surrounding the Click-Clack.
  2. The Boy’s Seriousness and Belief: Contrasting sharply with the narrator’s skepticism is the boy’s earnestness and firm belief in the Click-Clack. The boy’s serious demeanor and detailed description of the Click-Clack intrigues the narrator and instills a sense of foreboding in the reader. His unwavering belief in the existence of these creatures and the rules that govern their interactions with humans introduce a sense of danger and suspense.
  3. Shift in Atmosphere and Perception: As the story progresses, the author uses the changing atmosphere—from the warm and cozy kitchen to the dark and draughty hallways of the big house—to mirror the shift in the narrator’s perception. Paralleled by the boy’s consistent belief in the supernatural, this environmental change effectively builds suspense by emphasizing the contrast between the known and the unknown, the safe and the potentially dangerous.
  4. Climax and Revelation: The climax of the story, where the boy opens the door to the attic room and the narrator hears the rattling sound, represents a convergence of the characters’ perspectives. At this moment, the suspense built through the differing viewpoints reaches its peak. The narrator’s skepticism is confronted with the unsettling reality of the boy’s beliefs, leading to a dramatic revelation that shocks the narrator and the reader.
  5. Use of Dialogue and Descriptive Language: Gaiman uses dialogue effectively to develop the characters’ points of view, with the boy’s descriptions of the Click-Clack and the narrator’s responses highlighting their contrasting attitudes.
  6. The descriptive language used to portray the settings and the characters’ actions further amplifies the suspense, making the reader feel the tension and anticipation experienced by the narrator.

By juxtaposing the narrator’s initial disbelief with the boy’s solemn conviction and gradually bringing the narrator’s perspective closer to the boy’s through a series of suspenseful events and revelations, Gaiman crafts a narrative that is both engaging and eerily suspenseful.

The development of these differing points of view deepens the story’s complexity and enhances its ability to captivate and unsettle the reader.

Discussion Answers

In this story, the author uses a first person point of view, which allows the reader to share the experience with the main character. How does reading a story from a narrator’s point of view and perspective enhance the feeling of suspense?

Reading a story from a narrator’s first-person point of view and perspective significantly enhances the feeling of suspense in several ways:

  1. Immediate Experience: The first-person perspective immerses readers directly into the narrator’s experiences, thoughts, and feelings. This immediacy makes the suspense more palpable because readers encounter the story’s events and revelations at the same moment as the narrator does. The direct connection fosters a sense of being ‘in the moment,’ where every discovery or twist feels immediate and impactful.
  2. Limited Knowledge: A first-person narrative naturally limits the information available to what the narrator knows, sees, and understands. This restricted viewpoint can heighten suspense because the audience is kept in the dark about aspects of the story that the narrator has not yet encountered or understood. The sense of uncertainty and anticipation about what lies beyond the narrator’s awareness or comprehension adds to the suspense.
  3. Subjective Interpretation: Through the narrator’s eyes, readers receive a subjective interpretation of events, characters, and settings. This subjectivity can amplify suspense as readers are influenced by the narrator’s emotions, biases, and reactions. If the narrator feels anxious, fearful, or suspicious, these feelings are directly transmitted to the reader, enhancing the emotional intensity of the suspenseful elements.
  4. Unreliable Narration: First-person narrators can be unreliable, intentionally or unintentionally misleading readers due to their limited understanding, personal biases, or deliberate deceit. This possibility keeps readers on their toes, as they must navigate the story’s events with an awareness that their primary source of information may not be entirely trustworthy. The resulting uncertainty contributes significantly to the suspense, as readers are compelled to question what is true and anticipate potential twists or revelations.
  5. Emotional Connection: The first-person point of view fosters a deeper emotional connection between readers and the narrator. By sharing the narrator’s perspective, readers become more invested in the narrator’s fate. This emotional investment makes the suspense more intense, as readers are not merely observers of the story but feel as though they are experiencing the events alongside the narrator.

In “Click-Clack the Rattlebag,” Neil Gaiman expertly utilizes the first-person perspective to envelop readers in the unfolding mystery and suspense.

The narrator’s gradual realization of the truth behind the boy’s story, combined with the inherent limitations and subjectivity of the first-person point of view, serves to deepen the suspense and engage readers in a profoundly personal and immersive narrative experience.


Although not explicitly stated, we can assume the author begins to become suspicious of the boy throughout the story. Can you recall a time you were suspicious of someone? How did you behave? How was your behavior similar to the narrator’s behavior? How did it differ?

Yeah, so there was this one time when I felt kinda suspicious of someone. It was during a sleepover at my friend’s house. My friend’s cousin was there too, and he kept telling us these creepy stories about their house being haunted.

At first, it was kinda cool, but then he started acting weird, like trying to scare us on purpose by making strange noises and disappearing into dark rooms. I started to get this funny feeling that maybe he was up to something, like he was trying to prank us or something.

I guess I kinda acted like the narrator in the story because I was curious but also a bit wary. I didn’t just believe everything right away. I started watching the cousin more closely, trying to see if he was going to slip up and reveal his prank.

At the same time, I kept asking him questions, kinda like how the narrator asks the boy about the Click-Clack and stuff, trying to figure out if he was making it all up.

But I think I was also a bit different from the narrator. Unlike the narrator, who seemed to get more caught up in the story and followed the boy into the dark, I decided to be more cautious. I told my friend about my suspicions, and we kinda teamed up to watch the cousin together.

So, in a way, I didn’t let myself get as drawn into the cousin’s story as the narrator did with the boy’s story. In the end, it turned out the cousin was just messing with us, and we all had a good laugh about it. But it was definitely a time when I had to balance being curious with being a bit suspicious.


What do you think happened to the narrator at the end of the story? Explain your answer with support from the text.

Okay, so at the end of the story, things get super creepy and kinda leave us hanging, but here’s what I think went down. The narrator gets led up to the attic by the boy, right? And then, when they open the door to the attic, the narrator starts hearing these sounds that are like “dry bones in thin bags” rattling around, which is super eerie.

This part is like the big reveal that maybe the Click-Clack the Rattlebag story the boy was telling isn’t just a story after all.

The text doesn’t straight-up tell us what happens next, but it hints that the narrator might have encountered a Click-Clack for real. Like, when the boy says Click-Clacks “drink you” and talks about how they leave you as just bones and skin that rattle, it’s as if the story he’s been telling is about to happen to the narrator.

And the last part, where the narrator can’t pull away because the boy’s fingers are pulling him forward, it feels like maybe the boy is leading him to become another victim of the Click-Clacks.

So, based on the text, I think the narrator is about to face something super scary, maybe even get “drunk” by a Click-Clack. The story builds up this suspense and fear, making us think that the Click-Clacks are more than just a tale.

The whole vibe changes from a simple bedtime story to a real-life horror scenario for the narrator. And the fact that we don’t get a clear ending leaves us imagining the worst, just like the spookiest stories do.

Other Commonlit Answers

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