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We Have Always Lived In The Castle SPOILERS

(29 Posts)
EverySongbirdSays Sun 30-Oct-16 13:38:26

SHE'S DEAD THOUGH ISN'T SHE?

THE WHOLE WAY THROUGH.

And that's the twist

But partially doesn't make sense because people can see her.

CoteDAzur Sun 30-Oct-16 14:24:24

Aagain, nobody replies? shockgrin

I'll give it a go, then although I haven't read it.

Sounds silly like The Others. Or possibly The Sixth Sense, if there is haunting/murder mystery involved.

GinIsIn Sun 30-Oct-16 14:29:30

Maybe they are ALL dead.... shock

I don't want to spoil it for you, keep going! How far in are you?

EverySongbirdSays Sun 30-Oct-16 14:46:51

I know Cote

Start a thread, they said! We'll reply, they said !

I've read it Fenella ages ago two people on 50 Book Challenge have just read it, but I didn't want to post spoilers without warning

SatsukiKusakabe Sun 30-Oct-16 14:51:15

Hmm, Julian is the only one who thinks she's dead, Charles seems incredulous when he says so, and other people address her directly. Constance maybe wouldn't be so concerned about her handling knives, matches and food if she were dead.

Does Merricat directly interact with Julian? She is always telling Constance to do things for him, making suggestions, but she never directly does anything for him herself. Does he ever talk to her? He says "my niece" and always means Constance. She must sit in the corner, is not allowed to prepare food, and is not allowed in Julian's room or to touch anything of his things. She also never sits at the table, her food is brought into the kitchen after they eat.

Julian was nearly killed by Merricat, but doesn't know that. He is constantly trying to relive the day and piece together what happened, but he also asks Constance (constantly) whether it really happened at all. He is an unreliable witness - he was never called to the stand at the trial of Constance, though he was the only person who was there left alive.

I do think the ambiguity is intended; it is deliberately disorienting, but I don't think Merricat is Bruce Willis.

SatsukiKusakabe Sun 30-Oct-16 14:52:10

Sorry for the delay, the villagers were taunting me again...

EverySongbirdSays Sun 30-Oct-16 14:56:53

My niece died YEARS AGO is a bit off when she's right in front of him though.

Taunted by villagers?

Sounds exciting

SatsukiKusakabe Sun 30-Oct-16 14:58:40

The 'twist' (though it is more an obvious accumulation of evidence than a twist) is that it was Merricat and not Constance (as a lot of people still think) and also that Constance knew this all along but has been protecting her. Isn't it?

HanYOLO Sun 30-Oct-16 15:00:41

I thought it was Merricat wot done it
And is not dead
But might be metaphorically dead to bonkers Julian who she did after all poison?

SatsukiKusakabe Sun 30-Oct-16 15:07:52

More likely that Charles and the villagers have imagined Merricat, or that Uncle Julian has blocked her out? She is often in a doorway, behind a door etc when Julian is around.

EverySongbirdSays Sun 30-Oct-16 15:13:56

Yes, the twist is it is Merricat what done it, I guessed as much to be honest

But doesn't Julian say that she died in a fire?

In which case it is a further twist, that Constance, having gone insane, is basically sitting alone in the crumbling house imagining them all.

SatsukiKusakabe Sun 30-Oct-16 15:30:19

Julian says she died in the orphanage of neglect, doesn't he?

MermaidofZennor Sun 30-Oct-16 15:45:46

I assumed Julian had dementia or that he was so badly affected by the poisoning that it has destroyed his memory of what happened.

Merricat is not dead. I realised quite early on that she was the real culprit not Constance and has always had some form of mental illness. Charles has worked it out and wants to remove Constance from her clutches.

The family have always been seen as a bit strange or aloof, fencing themselves off from the village.

DinosaursRoar Sun 30-Oct-16 15:50:20

No not dead - merricat did it, Julian thinks of her as dead always made me think that he knew at some level.

SatsukiKusakabe Sun 30-Oct-16 15:57:54

Yy to mermaid & dinosaurs

The 'twist' that it was Merricat rather than Constance, isn't really a twist at all. It's pretty obvious right from the opening, when she says she likes deaths head mushrooms.

For a while I thought they were all dead. Then I thought that Merricat was dead. Then I decided that they weren't dead at all but she wanted us to think that they were. Then by the end I decided I didn't really care, as it had all got a bit dull and repetitive and stupid by then.

I thought Charles just wanted the money, and wasn't really interested in Constance at all.

viques Sun 30-Oct-16 17:05:03

I love Shirley Jackson, a writer whose life was tragically too short, I hate it when you have read and enjoyed everything a writer has written and feel short changed because they died so young.

Poor poor merry cat with her hidden treasures and her secrets and rituals, I know she is unforgivable but I can't help feel sorry for her , well all of them really, locked into those destructive relationships with each other and the outside world. I see they are making a film of whalitc, oh dear, I can not help but feel that it will be a disaster! Jacksons prose seeps into your mind, I don't think it will survive a film script.

She was such a clever writer, mistress of the creepy and psychological but with a light touch for humour as well, try life among the savages, her account of her family life, which sounds delightful, and only makes her inner sad life more poignant.

MermaidofZennor Sun 30-Oct-16 17:21:30

I really couldn't decide about Charles. Did he want their money? Yes probably but I also thought that he did seem to care for Constance which made Merricat do what she did ti him.

MermaidofZennor Sun 30-Oct-16 17:32:56

And also, as the narration is all from Merricat's point of view which is, at best, very skewed, we cannot ever really say with any certainty what Charles's true motivation was.

Merricat herself liked to play at being the invisible wraith, doer of evil by stealth. Why had she been banned from the dinner table on the night of the poisoning? What had she done?

SatsukiKusakabe Sun 30-Oct-16 18:02:08

Charles did seem obsessed by the money, but it could have been distorted by M's point of view I suppose.

Do you think she set fire to the summerhouse? She said she hadn't been there for 6 years (since the murders) and that her mother had said she'd wanted it burned down.

I think she was mentally unwell and the family responded with neglect and coldness (apart from C) and had been planning to ship her off somewhere - there was a remembered argument between her parents with her dad saying they had no choice about something.

GinIsIn Sun 30-Oct-16 20:02:55

I read it that Julian slightly believes them all to be dead, including Merricat, due to his dementia, not that they actually are dead...

Merrylegs Sun 30-Oct-16 20:12:19

I loved this book but I don't think she is dead - just that she done it. It reminds me of Christina Rosetti's Goblin Market and the lines
"For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands”

EverySongbirdSays Sun 30-Oct-16 21:50:30

Merricat had done something to get sent to her room, definitely, & I think we are told what but I can't remember.

That bit at the end where they are jus sitting in ruins though and Constance is catatonic?

Perhaps she came back there and they were all gone?

Dead, I tell you!

MermaidofZennor Mon 31-Oct-16 07:05:37

I don't think the summer house got burned down though, did it? I remember the mother saying she'd seen a rat there and wouldn't go in, and wanted it burned down but it never was. I'm wondering what it was that really happened in there that led to Merricat refusing to go back there for six years. Was there abuse? It's not mentioned but may be implied that something happened to her in there (her father?) and no one believed her? So she took her revenge.

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