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Shirley Jackson quotes Showing 1-30 of 388

“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality.”
Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House
“A pretty sight, a lady with a book.”
Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream.”
Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House
“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.”
Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House
“My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all, I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cup mushroom. Everyone else in our family is dead.”
Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
“Eleanor looked up, surprised; the little girl was sliding back in her chair, sullenly refusing her milk, while her father frowned and her brother giggled and her mother said calmly, 'She wants her cup of stars.'

Indeed yes, Eleanor thought; indeed, so do I; a cup of stars, of course.

'Her little cup,' the mother was explaining, smiling apologetically at the waitress, who was thunderstruck at the thought that the mill's good country milk was not rich enough for the little girl. 'It has stars in the bottom, and she always drinks her milk from it at home. She calls it her cup of stars because she can see the stars while she drinks her milk.' The waitress nodded, unconvinced, and the mother told the little girl, 'You'll have your milk from your cup of stars tonight when we get home. But just for now, just to be a very good little girl, will you take a little milk from this glass?'

Don't do it, Eleanor told the little girl; insist on your cup of stars; once they have trapped you into being like everyone else you will never see your cup of stars again; don't do it; and the little girl glanced at her, and smiled a little subtle, dimpling, wholly comprehending smile, and shook her head stubbornly at the glass. Brave girl, Eleanor thought; wise, brave girl.”
Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House
“On the moon we wore feathers in our hair, and rubies on our hands. On the moon we had gold spoons.”
Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
“Am I walking toward something I should be running away from?”
Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House
“I can't help it when people are frightened," says Merricat. "I always want to frighten them more.”
Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
“I delight in what I fear.”
Shirley Jackson
“I was pretending that I did not speak their language; on the moon we spoke a soft, liquid tongue, and sang in the starlight, looking down on the dead dried world.”
Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
“I remember that I stood on the library steps holding my books and looking for a minute at the soft hinted green in the branches against the sky and wishing, as I always did, that I could walk home across the sky instead of through the village.”
Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
“We eat the year away. We eat the spring and the summer and the fall. We wait for something to grow and then we eat it.”
Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
tags: food
“I am like a small creature swallowed whole by a monster, she thought, and the monster feels my tiny little movements inside.”
Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House
“Fear," the doctor said, "is the relinquishment of logic, the willing relinquishing of reasonable patterns. We yield to it or we fight it, but we cannot meet it halfway.”
Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House
“All cat stories start with this statement: "My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”
Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
tags: cats
“Fate intervened. Some of us, that day, she led inexorably through the gates of death. Some of us, innocent and unsuspecting, took, unwillingly, that one last step to oblivion. Some of us took very little sugar.”
Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
“So long as you write it away regularly nothing can really hurt you.”
Shirley Jackson
“I'm going to put death in all their food and watch them die.”
Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
“Poor strangers, they have so much to be afraid of.”
Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
“I could live there all alone, she thought, slowing the car to look down the winding garden path to the small blue front door with, perfectly, a white cat on the step. No one would ever find me there, either, behind all those roses, and just to make sure I would plant oleanders by the road. I will light a fire in the cool evenings and toast apples at my own hearth. I will raise white cats and sew white curtains for the windows and sometimes come out of my door to go to the store to buy cinnamon and tea and thread. People will come to me to have their fortunes told, and I will brew love potions for sad maidens; I will have a robin...”
Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House
“All our land was enriched with my treasures buried in it, thickly inhabited just below the surface with my marbles and my teeth and my colored stones, all perhaps turned to jewels by now, held together under the ground in a powerful taut web which never loosened, but held fast to guard us.”
Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
“I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had.”
Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
“There had not been this many words sounded in our house for a long time, and it was going to take a while to clean them out.”
Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
“Don't do it, Eleanor told the little girl; insist on your cup of stars; once they have trapped you into being like everyone else you will never see your cup of stars again; don't do it; and the little girl glanced at her, and smiled a little subtle, dimpling, wholly comprehending smile, and shook her head stubbornly at the glass. Brave girl, Eleanor thought; wise, brave girl.”
Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House
“She had taken to wondering lately, during these swift-counted years, what had been done with all those wasted summer days; how could she have spent them so wantonly? I am foolish, she told herself early every summer, I am very foolish; I am grown up now and know the values of things. Nothing is ever really wasted, she believed sensibly, even one's childhood, and then each year, one summer morning, the warm wind would come down the city street where she walked and she would be touched with the little cold thought: I have let more time go by.”
Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House
“You will be wondering about that sugar bowl, I imagine, is it still in use? You are wondering, has it been cleaned? You may very well ask, was it thoroughly washed?”
Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
“I shall weave a suit of leaves. At once. With acorns for buttons.”
Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
“All I could think of when I got a look at the place from the outside was what fun it would be to stand out there and watch it burn down.”
Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House
“Merricat, said Connie, would you like a cup of tea?
Oh no, said Merricat, you’ll poison me.
Merricat, said Connie, would you like to go to sleep?
Down in the boneyard ten feet deep!”
Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle

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