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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Soundtrack to "We Have Always Lived in the Castle"

Create a soundtrack for one of the stories we read in this section. The list should contain at least five songs and should be accompanied by a description of why this song is relevant to the story. Why does it deserve to be on the list?: Do the lyrics remind you of a particular character's struggle? Do you think the song's emotion matches the emotion of the scene? Would this music make a particular scene more intense, sad, scary, etc.? Be specific and point us to the place in the text the song should fit.

If I could create a soundtrack for the novel, “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” by Shirley Jackson, it would include the following songs:
1. The Pierces- Secret 
2. Eurhythmics- Sweet Dreams 
3. Empire of the Sun- Walking on a Dream 
4. Metronomy- The Look 
5. Nina Simone- I Put a Spell on You

The Pierces’ “Secret” was chosen because it just has a creepy sound to the song. First heard on the show, “Pretty Little Liars,” the song starts off by “Got a secret
Can you keep it? Swear this one you'll save. Better lock it in your pocket, taking this one to the grave. If I show you then I know you won't tell what I said' cause two can keep a secret if one of them is dead.” This song fit perfectly with the novel because essentially, they are keeping a secret (they meaning the Blackwood family’s “living” members). What is the secret? Well it’s plain and simple: Mericat is the culprit while Constance is the innocent person. With the whole town thinking that Constance is the killer, it’s easier for Mericat to have the privileges of roaming the town without being ridiculed. However, people are suspicious of her and their attitudes towards her and the family is not welcoming at all; it is as if they know that she is holding in a “secret” and that she and Constance are “taking this one to the grave.” Quotes like, “The people of the village have always hated us” (Jackson, 4) and “I always thought about rot when I came toward the row of stores; I thought about burning black painful rot that away from inside, hurting dreadfully. I wished it on the village” (Jackson, 6) suggest this reasoning in relation to the song.  Additionally, this particular song does indeed have matching emotions to the scene. I can picture Mericat walking into town with the townspeople giving her unwelcoming looks and the children singing that song while this song is playing. The tune to this song is deep, quite creepy, and dark which fits perfectly to the scene of Mericat’s odd character and how she is treated within the town.

The second song that I chose is The Eurhythmics’ “Sweet Dreams.” The reason why this song was chosen is for these lyrics, “Some of them want to use you, Some of them want to get used by you, Some of them want to abuse you, Some of them want to be abused.” I thought these lyrics fit well in the chapter where Mericat questions Cousin Charles’ intentions. She mention’s several times or feels that he is just using Constance to get closer to their father’s money. This idea is presented when Merricat says, “I could not allow myself to be angry, and particularly not angry with Constance, but I wished Charles dead. Constance needed guarding more than ever before and if I became angry and she looked aside she might very well be lost” (Jackson, 79).  This quote suggests that Mericat is frustrated with the thought that Constance doesn’t realize that Charles is using her. Just like the song above, I feel as though this song as well has matching emotions to the scene. This song has a “sneaky” and “questionable” tune to it which fits perfect with the feelings Mericat has towards Cousin Charles and the darkness and creepiness of this novel.

The third song that is chosen is Empire of the Sun’s “Walking on a Dream.” In the beginning, the song states, “Walking on a dream, How can I explain? Talking to myself, will I see again?” When listening to these lyrics, I automatically thought about Mericat’s imagination and “little world” she lived in by burying items or pinning them up to other things. Additionally, Mericat mention’s the idea of the moon as a place of escapement. On page 75, Mericat mentions, “On the moon we have everything. Lettuce, and pumpkin pie, and amanita phalloides. We have cat-furred plants and horses dancing with their wings. On the moon Uncle Julian would be well and the sun would shine every day.” This quote suggests that Merricat indeed has this crazy imagination/dreams but somehow believes it’s real in some way. I think that the emotion of the song match the emotions of Mericat in this scene because the tone of the song is fast paced and has a “into another world” type of beat. It’s really hard to explain, but it’s a beat that I would put into the section where she is off in her own little world; it has an “imaginative” beat to the song. With this song being put into the story line, especially into the scene, I think it would make it more interesting and intriguing instead of making it more scary or intense. The beat is like the song you had played in class with the two kids for “The Veldt”; it didn’t make it scary, but it made it more interesting, making us put the pieces together while adding a little “creepiness” to the equation.

The fourth song that is chosen is “The Look” by Metronomy. In the beginning, the lyrics state “You're up and you'll get down, You're never running from this town, Kinda think you said, You'll never get anything better than this, 'Cause you're going round in circles, And everyone knows you're trouble.” I felt that these lyrics went perfectly in the scene in which the house is burning down and the townspeople come and seek for the family members. In doing so, the townspeople want to cause harm to them and I felt as though the lyrics “You’re never running from this town and everyone knows you’re trouble” fits perfectly with this scene. On page 108, it reads, “There they are,” someone shouted and I think it was Stella and I started to run but Constance stumbled and then they were all around us, pushing and laughing and trying to get close to see.” I felt as though this quote went hand in hand with what the lyrics mention in how “they are never running from this town” as if they were caught. Once again, I do believe that this song’s emotion does fit the emotions of the characters and the scene. At this point, Constance and Mericat are running away into the forest trying to get away from the townspeople. In doing so, I can only imagine the feelings of a heart beating fast and a sense of confusion going through both Mericat and Constance.  I feel as though the song has a mysterious beat to it that fits perfectly with that of this scene because at the beginning, they are just running away not knowing where they are going which I feel the song has a good introduction to that. Additionally, the songs' beat in some ways sounds like a heart beating in the background, which in some sense could match that of Constance and Mericat’s feelings.

The last and final song that was chosen was Nina Simone’s “I Put a Spell on You.” I felt as though this was another song that fit perfectly with Mericat’s feelings towards her family and why she poisoned them. The lyrics state, “I put a spell on you, Because you're mine. I can't stand the things that you do. No, no, no, I ain't lyin'. No. I don't care if you don't want me 'Cause I'm yours, yours, yours anyhow. Yeah, I'm yours, yours, yours. I love you. I love you. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! I put a spell on you. Lord! Lord! Lord!” These lyrics essentially sum up Mericat’s feelings towards her parents. On page 110, Mericat mentions “I am going to put death in all their food and watch them die.” Constance stirred, and the leaves rustled. ”The way you did before?” she asked. “Yes, the way I did before” I said.” This quote in my opinion goes hand in hand with the lyrics as well as the previous song did; both songs express this “spell” like mentality on wishing bad things on people. I think that indeed the emotions of both match in the sense that the song has an eerie and dark beat which fits in with the emotion of the scene: the mother and father being poisoned by their own daughter. Additionally, by this song being included in a possibly soundtrack to this novel, I feel as though it would make the scene a little more dark than it already is by the creepiness of the tune and the message that it portrays: putting a spell, let alone poisoning an individual.

In choosing all the songs, I felt that all had some purpose within the novel. Some could indeed be considered a little "out there," but in all reasoning, all fit perfectly within the story.  

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