We Have Always Lived in the Castle
By Shirley Jackson
Have you ever read Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery? I haven’t, but in high school an oral interp team mate read it as her performance. I must have watched her performance a couple dozen times that season, and I was always fascinated by how creepy it was, how horrible the situation was and how it was just accepted as normal by the town’s residents. This is my first experience with Shirley Jackson since then. While I found this one creepy, it’s not on par with The Lottery.
Uncle Julian was, in my opinion, the most quotable.
“‘He is a bastard.’
‘In a purely metaphorical sense, I assure you. Both my brothers married women of very strong will. That is merely a word used–among men, my dear, I apologize for submitting you to such a word–to categorize an undesirable fellow.'”
“‘He was a man very fond of his person,’ Uncle Julian said. ‘Given to adorning himself, and not overly clean.'”
Writing 3.5 out of 5 stars
Jackson has an interesting writing styling. This story wasn’t as compelling as The Lottery, but still good.
Character Development 4 out of 5 stars
The characters Jackson created in this story were very creepy and quite well developed. Merikat’s behavior kept me wondering through the entire story. Why did she behave the way she did? Mental illness? I don’t know for sure, but she was a well-developed character.
Plot Structure 3 out of 5 stars
This novella moved along at a nice pace with an interesting development towards the end.
Storytelling 4 out of 5 stars
There’s no doubt about it, Jackson is an interesting storyteller.
Total 3.625 stars
Have you read The Castle or any of Jackson’s other stories? What did you think?
4 thoughts on “Book Review: We Have Always Lived in the Castle”
I loved this one. I think it’s largely to do with the otherwordly feel of Jackson’s writing. I thought the characters were interesting and enigmatic, and it took some twists I really enjoyed. Sorry it wasn’t great for you, but “The Lottery” is a lot to live up to. 🙂 I’m looking forward to reading more of her short stories.
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