Social exclusion is a complex and multidimensional phenomenon, the results of which have long-term repercussions. This is a problem that can affect anyone, regardless of their age or gender. The lack of opportunities to perform social roles, or to enjoy public goods, makes it impossible for people to develop properly.
Until the tragic afternoon, when seven members of the Blackwood family died, the family was considered to be typical, but not fully liked. The inhabitants of the town still remember the memorable event. The mockery and ridicule of the neighbours forced the other three, Mary Katherine, her sister Constance and uncle Julian, to alienate themselves, almost completely from public life. However, living in isolation is not so bad – the family has developed its own, well-ordered way of life, according to which every day runs for them. The harmony is interrupted when the man, cousin Charles, arrives at the house.
At that time I didn’t realize it yet, but the time and order of the days had come to an end (…).
“We have always lived in a castle” is a novel covered in paranoid mist, where dark secrets are hidden and the demons of the past ask for implacable attenuation. Shirley Jackson precisely builds the psychological layer of a stigma-living family. Each day is a challenge for them, it forces them to play a specific game; each day draws events, which require making difficult decisions, making choices.
The author of “A haunted house on a hill” perfectly showed the reprehensible behaviour of the inhabitants of a small town. The audience has an opportunity to see the hostile attitude towards the family, a mockery aimed at them. The fragments that force us to reflect are characterized by an emotional tone, although they lack a bit of jam.
We get to know the whole story through Mary Katherine, who becomes an observer of the world around her on a daily basis. This personality is twisted, bizarre, but also subtle. The feelings that accompany the protagonist are almost tangible. The febrile and dense atmosphere drives the story, which is by the way simple but also reliable. The background characters are characters stuck in a kind of marasmus and amoid. Closed in four walls, they plunge into their own reality, which over time begins to overwhelm the reader. Although they are distinguished by their individuality, they lack enthusiasm. It would seem that they are puppets waiting for their final role to be played.
The story emanates a kind of magic which, thanks to its sublime language, closes the castle, which is full of warmth and devotion, but also darkness, for the reader. A style full of insinuations creates a schizophrenic, almost claustrophobic atmosphere, which often arouses fear in the viewer. Shirley Jackson, drawing the plot, phenomenally reflected the gothic atmosphere, which is shrouded in realistic but laconic descriptions. The author keeps the reader in the grip of uncertainty and anxiety for the last pages, which in turn is amplified by the unobviousness and understatement of almost the entire novel.
(…) the house is still saturated with anger, and I was surprised that one feeling can last for so long in someone’s home.
“We always lived in the castle” is a disturbing, intoxicating and unusual reading. It is people, their nature, who play the first violin here; it is their twisted minds who create a matter of events which, crowned with a question mark, do not fully explain anything.
In short, it is a novel full of unobviousness, disturbing, revealing the pages of isolation. The schizophrenic atmosphere, combined with the light language and gothic climate, affects the imagination. Factory 6
Language 7
Creation of heroes 5
Emotions 7
General impressions 7 6.4 Final assessment
Title: We always lived in the castle
Author: Shirley Jackson
Translation: Ewa Horodyska
Published by: Replika
Year of issue: 2018
Number of pages: 224