We Have Always Lived in the Castle novel1. What does the opening paragraph tell you about Merricat? What can you discern of her personality from such an opening? Is she a reliable narrator? Why or why not? 2. Who were the murdered members of the Blackwood family? What were they like? Why do you think they were murdered? How exactly were they murdered? By whom? 3. Why do you think the townspeople disliked the Blackwood family so much? Do you think their feelings are justified in anyway? 4. Who is Charles? Describe his character (personality, history, looks, etc.). Cite page numbers. 5. What are Charles’s intentions when he comes to visit the Blackwoods. In what ways does he upset the sisters’ lives? The narrator never tells us exactly, but what can you infer from his actions? 6. What triggers the assault by the villagers on the Blackwood home? What exactly do they do? Why do they later bring gifts of food? Cite specific examples.7. Is this, in any sense, a realistic novel? Can you place it in any particular time or location? What can you tell about the setting—time, place and culture?8. Describe the character of Uncle Julian. What do you think he is writing about the murders? What happens to him at the end? Cite page numbers.9. What roles do superstition and magic play in this novel? Be explicit and cite page numbers of specific details.10. Social criticism, whether overt or implicit, is central to all of Shirley Jackson’s works. What is Jackson saying about society in the novel? Do you agree or disagree with her?