We Have Always Lived in the Castle Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of We Have Always Lived in the Castle

    Mary Katherine Blackstone lives with her older sister, Constance, and her invalid uncle Julian in a mansion cut off from the local village. Several years ago four members of the family had been poisoned. Constance had been accused, but was acquitted. The family is estranged from the villagers who still believe that Constance was the murderer. One day Charles, a cousin, shows up. Although Mary doesn't like him, Constance makes him welcome in the house, and begins to think about going back out in the world. Mary decides that she must do something to drive him away.
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The review of this Book prepared by Jack Goodstein

Chapter Analysis of We Have Always Lived in the Castle

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 20%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 40%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 30% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Moderately Challenging Time/era of story:    -   1960's-1970's What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   30% Special suspect?    -   relative Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   cooped up in spooky house Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   feelings towards family/friends Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   unemployed Age:    -   a teen Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American Unusual characteristics:    -   Mentally ill


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast Small town?    -   Yes Small town people:    -   hostile, like Gomer Pyle on steroids Misc setting    -   fancy mansion

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Shirley Jackson Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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