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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

We Have Always Lived in The Castle Critique

 Kimberlee LeVasseur

“We Have Always Lived in the Castle,” contains multiple tropes within Gothic Literature. The Uncanny concept encompasses many things but repetition or doubles is one of the characteristics shown in the book. When Cousin Charles comes to the Blackwood house, Merricat is stunned by how easy it was to identify this man because he looked almost identical to their father.
Another characteristic of the uncanny are lifelike qualities of inanimate objects. Both Merricat and Constance had somewhat of an obsession with cleaning the house. They had a set day every week to clean everything. It was like they were cleaning something that had life. Although nothing moved in their house, it was seen as dirty to the girls. Maybe they were obsessed with cleaning away the evidence from the poison or the ghosts of the parents and everyone that died that night.

This novel did not scare me, but the way the family dynamic and how the town was described was a little creepy. Even though it was not scary, this novel created a strong sense of suspense throughout. When Merricat destroyed Cousin Charles’ room it created suspense when waiting for his response and repercussions to the situation. Another time when the suspense was high was when the townspeople were throwing things at the house when it was on fire. They were circling around Merricat and Constance and I instantly started reading faster so I could find out what happens. Suspense is a key component within this novel. It is used to keep the reader engaged in the story.
I would give this book a rating of an eight because of the way it immediately catches the readers’ eye and its ability to keep the reader engaged until the end. In the future, I would definitely recommend this book to someone interested in gothic literature.


Jackson, Shirley. We Have Always Lived In The Castle. New York: Viking, 1962. 100. Print.

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