Shirley Jackson 's Final Novel

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We Have Always Lived in the Castle, is Shirley Jackson’s final novel. It tells the story of two sisters, Merricat and Constance Blackwood, who live with their Uncle Julian in an enormous New England house. Merricat and Constance’s family (their parents, brother, and aunt) were all killed six years before. Constance was accused of the murder of her other family members, but there was not enough evidence to prove she was guilty. The only ones left to live in the house were Merricat, Constance, and their Uncle Julian. They are disgraced by their town and some town members even fear them. The Blackwood sisters try to avoid going into town as much as possible. The two sisters are perceived as complete outsiders that do not follow social norms; their bond as sisters are strong despite having the little family they have, their mental illness, and their fear of the outside world. Merricat is eighteen at the time in the story, however her childlike behavior and the way she talks would make the reader think she is much younger. She is the youngest member of the Blackwood family. The only time leaves her mansion is to go into town once a week, so she can get groceries and other necessities for the remaining members of her family. Each time she goes to town she is tormented by the townspeople. Merricat also has a very peculiar attitude. She walks around their yard with her cat; whom she refers to with human like characteristics. She uses “safe” words to help calm herself, and she
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