Raven Symoné

Raven Symoné

Friday, February 14, 2014

Postmodernism in WHALITC

Jake Nusynowitz

AP Language & Composition

Ms. Howard

13 February 2014

Daniel Green explains postmodernist literature as “…challenging established literary

convention” (Green 1). Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived In the Castle, in many ways, can be 

seen as a postmodernist work as it employs a trait many postmodernist works employ: an unreliable 

narrator. We Have Always Lived In the Castle twists the truth, offering readers an undependable 

narrator: the criminally insane Merricat. At the beginning of the book, we are introduced to Mary 

Katherine as a relatively regular character with slightly odd tendencies. Her remaining family is 

introduced shortly after, which includes Constance, whom she pins the death of her entire family on: 

“My niece, after all, was acquitted of murder” (Jackson 66). Throughout the entire novel, we are lead 

to believe that Merricat is a reliable narrator: why wouldn’t she be? From her eyes, we see her as the 

only sane character in the story for a long time as Merricat's narration highlights the insanity of her 

family. Firstly, her sister, Constance, is seen as the murderer 

who killed her entire family and got off scot-free. Uncle Julian is portrayed as the insane paralyzed 

elder who, in Merricat’s “motherly” eyes, cannot take care of himself (he believes she is dead) and 

constantly needs guidance. Lastly, Charles is seen as the enemy by Merricat, causing us to assume he 

is without a doubt an enemy to the reader and automatically labeled as “antagonist”. But when the 

unreliability of Merricat, our narrator, is revealed after the climactic fire, all of the previous 

assumptions we have made of characters must be questioned: “I am going to put death in all their 

food and watch them die…the way I did before” (Jackson 187). This plot-twist not only alters the

readers opinion towards Merricat, but the opinions on other characters formed throughout the novel 

as well. Is Constance truly mentally insane? Is Uncle Julian truly

 paralyzed? Should Charles truly be seen as the enemy? Jackson’s portrayal of Merricat as a innocent 

protagonist throughout the novel, only to steal the comfort the readers have gained in the novel by 

revealing her as the true antagonistic character exemplifies postmodernism. But somehow, readers

 still side with Merricat, seeing innocence in her. Why is this? Many times in postmodernist works, 

every question can not be answered, but Jackson’s We Have Always Lived In the Castle is a chilling 

read that, without a doubt, fulfills horror and mystery cravings around the world.

                                                                Works Cited

Green, Daniel. "Postmodern American Fiction." The Antioch Review Sept. 2003. QuestiaSchool. Web. 13 Feb. 2014.

Jackson, Shirley. We Have Always Lived in the Castle. New York: Penguin Books, 2006. Print.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Metafiction Piece

     "It's a very exciting day when the land of the free, none other than the United States of America is the first country to land humans (and sponge) on the moon. This monumental day, July 24, 1969, three brave men have successfully landed on the moon: Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, and Lunar Module Pilot Spongebob Squarepants. In our previous interviews, we spoke in depth about Armstrong and Collins, but did not get to really touch base and dig deep into Mr. Squarepants's past and interest in spaceflight.
     Spongebob Squarepants was born in the small town of Bikini Bottom, raised very traditionally. Starting in elementary school, his love for space developed, growing into something that interested him more than just a hobby, but a career. Working hard in high school, Squarepants worked at town favorite place to dine Krusty Krab where he earned high honor throughout the town for his friendly demeanor and flamboyant personality. Recruited by Nichelle Nicols, NASA Recruiter, Squarepants made his way to NASA for extensive training to eventually make it onto the first successful human/sponge mission to the moon. Squarepants is very proud to be supporting his family, his parents Harold and Margaret Squarepants. 'Some people might think,' Squarepants explains, '...that a sponge going to space is odd, perhaps the readers of this very article in an advanced English class in in Florida circa 2014, but i'd just like to set an example for all of the sponges out there who want to make a life for themselves and really make a change, besides being used as a kitchen supply.'
     Mr. Squarepants sets an example for all sponges and humans out there in the world who want to make a change: 'with hard work and determination, you can do anything,' he coins. We at the HSA, Human Sponge Alliance cant wait to see the future that not only Squarepants holds for us in space travel, but Armstrong and Collins in all of their near and far endeavors."
--- HSA