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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Childhood Mystery

Blog option #4

Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle reminded me of a childhood mystery. I have learned that rumors can become extreme in a close-knit area like the town that the Blackwoods lived in. As we learn in the end of the story, the town’s perception of Constance was completely wrong, as is the perception that I grew up with about the man who lived on the corner of my street, named Roger.
I have lived in the same neighborhood since I was born and when I was five my family moved to a different street. At the end of this street lived a man. He was creepy and no one knew anything about him except that he would always come out of his house to watch us kids playing in the street. Sometimes he would get angry towards us or accuse us of going into his yard and ruining his plants and pulling the lemons off of his tree. We were all extremely frightened of him and would go to great lengths to stay as far away from any interaction with him or his house. Sometimes we would even run by his house when we had to pass by it. As we got older we started to taunt him and as we would run by we would all scream to make him come out of his house and get angry. In a way we taunted him like the kids did to Constance and Merricat with the song that they sang in the book.
I have always wondered if Roger knew of the rumors that we told each other or if he felt about us just how Merricat felt about the rest of her town, that "It was enough to feel them all there in the back of me without looking into the flat grey faces with the hating eyes" (Jackson, p.8). Or if he watched us looking at his house when we didn't know he was there, as the sisters do in the end of the story. 
The rumors about this man were endless among the neighborhood children my age. Things like he had a mail ordered bride from Russia, because she didn’t speak any English. He made her go blind because she walked with a cane whenever she came outside, which was seldom and then when she stopped being seen the rumors grew larger. He randomly built a Jacuzzi into his backyard and we thought that he built it over her buried body.
Now being older and more enlightened, I realize that he is probably just a normal man living alone with nothing better to do. However, to this day Roger is a running joke among the friends that I still have from my neighborhood and we still tend to veer away from encounters with him if we see him around the neighborhood. The rumors have lived on with the younger kids in the neighborhood and will probably stay around as long as he continues to live in the house on the corner of my street just like the rumors about the Blackwoods, Constance and Merricat in particular, will live on forever in their town.


Jackson, Shirley. We Have Always Lived in the Castle. New York: Viking, 1962. Print.

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