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'I can't help it when people are frightened,' says Merricat.
'I always want to frighten them more.'
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Call Number: F JAC
Publication Date: 1961
Genre: Fiction (horror)
We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a novel by Shirley Jackson, published in 1961.
The novel is narrated by Mary Katherine (Merricat) Blackwood, an eighteen-year-old girl who lives with her gentle older sister, Constance, in a large isolated house on the outskirts of a village in New England.
The story focuses on the issues of traditionalism, female oppression, and the inherent cruelty in human nature.
This study guide by Libcharts gives an overview of the plot of the novel, delves into the characters and themes, and looks at the key quotes from We Have Always Lived in the Castle.
Character Map : Course Hero
Grade Saver : Overview
Grade Saver : Summary
The novel begins with the narrator and protagonist, Mary Katherine “Merricat” Blackwood introducing herself. Merricat says that all of her family is dead except for her sister, Constance. She recounts a day of doing her weekly errands, such as going to the library and picking up groceries. These errands are difficult for Merricat because she’s afraid of her town’s hostile villagers, who she claims have always hated her family. She explains that her house is set apart from the town, closed off by a fence, and her family doesn’t even accept mail or phone calls. It’s clear that the hatred between Merricat and the villagers is mutual, since she often wishes them dead.
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We Have Always Lived in the Castle : Book Reviews