China Mieville's text is taken from the Prologue of his book called 'King Rat', and is the description of an ambitious rat setting off on a mission.  

The narrator, the rat himself, says 'I have business tonight'. The fact that it is written in the first person increases the threat implied throughout, the threat to humans, who the narrator clearly despises but who gleefully admits to feeding off 'your filth and liv(ing) in your house and sleep(ing) under your bed'.

The fact that the rat has a mission which is not stated adds to the threat, and its journey across town, through landscapes both familiar and unfamiliar, heightens the tension. Finally there is the 'red brick of my destination' – the building he has focused on for that night’s 'business'. Could it be our house?

You can download the student worksheet and teacher’s notes below. You can also listen to the audio and read the transcript.


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