Me and my shadow

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 May, 2012, 12:00am


A shadow is an area of darkness caused when light is blocked by an object. Sometimes shadows have the same shape as the object that is blocking the light. All of us throw a shadow on the ground behind us when a light shines directly in our direction.

Shadows can be sinister and unsettling, particularly when we can't see what is causing them.

Filmmakers like to use shadows on walls to scare audiences. In the classic children's story Peter Pan, Peter gets separated from his shadow and can't rest until he gets it attached again.

Let's have a look at a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) and see what shadowy things are going on ...

My Shadow

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,

And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.

He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head.

And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow,

Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow.

For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,

And he sometimes gets so little that there's none of him at all.

He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play,

And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.

He stays so close beside me, he's a coward you can see.

I'd think shame to stick to anyone as that shadow sticks to me!

Shadow words

1 beyond a shadow of a doubt

a. this is completely true

b. this is possibly true

2 to be in somebody's shadow

a. to be mentored by someone older or more experienced

b. to always get less attention than someone else

3 to cast a shadow over something

a. to turn the lights off in a room

b. to make a pleasant situation unpleasant

4 to be a shadow of your former self

a. to be a lesser version of your old self

b. to be more suntanned than usual

5 five o'clock shadow

a. the dark area on a man's chin when he needs to shave

b. dusk

6 eyeshadow

a. coloured make-up for around the eyes

b. dark circles under the eyes when you haven't slept enough

7 in the shadow of (a building)

a. in the same style as (a building)

b. very close to (a building)


1. a, 2. b, 3. b, 4. a, 5. a, 6. a. 7. b