Thursday, February 18, 2010

WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE - Shirley Jackson

Jay County Public Library Book Group discussed We have always Lived in the Castle - Shirley Jackson

Only a handful of us were at group this month and probably it was due to the inclement weather. But, all attending were happy to have read this classic. If you haven't read it I would highly recommend it. The book is only 146 pages so it doesn't take long. All of us had read The Lottery in high school and I had read Haunting of Hill House also so I think we were all prepared for a dark tale. This novel of a brooding mansion, the scene of a multiple murder, and eccentric young girls living alone did not disappoint.  

The reader, knows right away that of an extended family of wealth only three have survived a poisoning. Merricat is 18 and the perpetrator of the crime. She is living with her older sister, Constance and an ailing uncle, Julius. They are reclusive and the people of their small village torment them. However, they perceive their life to be quite content and even happy. That is until a young male cousin shows up to change them.  There is much to ponder and to discuss. Alas, the questions I have go unanswered. Why did Merricat kill her famliy? Why do Constance and Uncle Julius not mind that she did so and why aren't they afraid of her? What is the reason that she is so childlike, is she mentally challenged? Why does Constance never leave the house? And does Merricat even exist or is she a phantom? Anyone care to comment?

Update – October 2010

Adams Central HS Student Literati had this as one of the choices to read for this month. Several balked as to them it looked too short and the cover appeared too juvenile. But, three took it and had a good discussion. Bridget simply loved it and intends to keep it in her personal collection. I believe she hopes to use it to refer to in her creative essays for class. I hope she does. They had concluded with the same questions the adults had. Did I remember to say I love my students? When I work with them I feel good about our future.
 

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