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We Have Always Lived in the Castle
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AMERICAN/SOUTHERN GOTHIC > We Have Always Lived In The Castle Chapters 5, 6 and 7.

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Traveller (moontravlr) | 2524 comments Mod
Thread for discussion of We Have Always Lived In The Castle Chapters 5, 6 and 7.


message 2: by Traveller (last edited Dec 09, 2015 08:54AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2524 comments Mod
Those who don't like Charles - please raise your hands.

More and more pressingly, one starts to wonder: "Who put the arsenic into the food?"

Also, one cannot help wondering why Constance is so blind to the fact that a certain someone is just a gold-digger with his own self-interest at heart.


message 3: by Linda Abhors the New GR Design (last edited Dec 09, 2015 10:50AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Linda Abhors the New GR Design | 269 comments *raises hand*

I wonder things of this nature on the reg....why person X doesn't recognize that person Y is a suck-up, why the boss doesn't realize person Z is not a saint, etc.
But the answer is probably: loneliness. The only one in possession of full faculties, and after a while, being a caregiver can be stressful.


Traveller (moontravlr) | 2524 comments Mod
I was actually starting to think that she had fallen a bit in love with him. Also, as it become increasingly clearer, (view spoiler)


Linda Abhors the New GR Design | 269 comments Traveller wrote: "I was actually starting to think that she had fallen a bit in love with him. Also, as it become increasingly clearer, [spoilers removed]"

Well, he was the only option. Desperation....Without a doubt the advantage. But I think a first experience can be written off to inexperience without necessarily damning her to be X all her life.


Traveller (moontravlr) | 2524 comments Mod
Thread for ending spoilers here: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 7: by Yolande (last edited Dec 13, 2015 08:25AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Yolande  (sirus) | 246 comments *another hand raised*
I especially don't like how Charles keeps threatening Merricat when he talks to her cat Jonas, talking of throwing her out etc.

Wow, the end of chapter 7 though:
"see to it that our most loved daughter is never punished"; "Thomas, give your sister your dinner"; Dorothy - Julian. Rise when our beloved daughter rises"; "bow all your heads to our adored Mary Katherine". I can suddenly see a motive if Constance did poison them. With those passages it finally started getting creepy for me.


Linda Abhors the New GR Design | 269 comments Yolande wrote: "*another hand raised*
I especially don't like how Charles keeps threatening Merricat when he talks to her cat Jonas, talking of throwing her out etc.

Wow, the end of chapter 7 though:
"see to it t..."


I took under consideration the possibilities that:
1) It was Merricat fantasizing about what she wished might have been....otherwise, um, motive?

2) Even the parents were pussyfooting around her.


Traveller (moontravlr) | 2524 comments Mod
Yeah, I also saw it as a fantasy - almost a sort of magic incantation, and sure, as possible motive too.

An interesting thing to notice, is that in most of the story, when she is in the house, nobody even sees or notices Merrikat - it's always Constance first. People even shout Constance's name when they come looking for the girls. I imagine part of it is that Constance is not only older, but also more approachable.

I was reminded a bit of Stephen King's Carrie with Merrikat. She appears to have been on the lowest rung in the household, and therefore I assumed these were the fantasies of grandiosity that tends to go with that kind of frustration - you know, like when a pauper fantasises he'd suddenly find a huge fortune, or become king, etc.


Traveller (moontravlr) | 2524 comments Mod
Charles really just takes over completely, though, eh? What a cheek!


Yolande  (sirus) | 246 comments Linda wrote: "It was Merricat fantasizing about what she wished might have been....otherwise, um, motive?

2) Even the parents were pussyfooting around her.
"


It did not cross my mind that it mind have been Merricat fantasizing about how she would want a family dinner to go. If that is the case then my comment about it in the end thread will not be too accurate...

It does seem strange that anybody in reality would behave like that towards one child, even a favourite. It might be too blown out of proportion. (view spoiler)


message 12: by Yolande (last edited Dec 13, 2015 12:14PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Yolande  (sirus) | 246 comments Traveller wrote: "Yeah, I also saw it as a fantasy - almost a sort of magic incantation, and sure, as possible motive too.

An interesting thing to notice, is that in most of the story, when she is in the house, nob..."


Yes, I think ultimately, you guys are right. Which makes it more comprehensible that this quote I used in the last thread comes from her own thoughts: (view spoiler)


Yolande  (sirus) | 246 comments I'm posting this in a separate comment because it didn't show up in my previous one:

When thinking about it, these feelings of grandiosity makes more sense if it came from someone treated as the lowest of the low in the household. A reaction of retaliation against such treatment. Which means she was in fact then treated completely opposite from her dream/fantasy. Gah why didn't I see it before, but this is what discussion threads are for :p


message 14: by Linda Abhors the New GR Design (last edited Dec 13, 2015 12:22PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Linda Abhors the New GR Design | 269 comments Yolande wrote: "I'm posting this in a separate comment because it didn't show up in my previous one:

When thinking about it, these feelings of grandiosity makes more sense if it came from someone treated as the l..."


I'm just throwing out my impressions, Yolande, but you're closer to it, as I read it a few months ago. And (view spoiler)


message 15: by Traveller (last edited Dec 14, 2015 07:38AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2524 comments Mod
Yolande wrote: "I'm posting this in a separate comment because it didn't show up in my previous one:

When thinking about it, these feelings of grandiosity makes more sense if it came from someone treated as the l..."


Ha, okay, and let's tie this comment to the discussion we have of this aspect in the next thread. I do believe you and I are now on the same page with this, Yolande!

I have learned so much from discussions, which is why I like it when people post different viewpoints to mine. I might not always always agree, but it often allows me to see more depth in a text. :)

Thanks to all of you for contributing, no matter if we all see it differently!


message 16: by Puddin Pointy-Toes (last edited Dec 13, 2015 06:25PM) (new)

Puddin Pointy-Toes (jkingweb) | 82 comments For a while reading the story I noticed that Mary Katherine was forbidden a number of things, some of them the sort of thing you would forbid a child, but others seemingly more arbitrary: she was forbidden from using matches, which is pretty obvious, but while she was permitted to clear the table, she was not permitted to wash dishes.

Seeing Mary Katherine have these rather, er, malevolent fantasies, it seems pretty clear Constance established these rules for her own protection, whether she consciously realized it or not.

Charles really is a piece of shit, though. He's cruel to Uncle Julian, treats Mary Katherine like she doesn't exist, and uses Constance like a slave. I hated him instantly! Every comment he makes is selfish, and every time Merricat makes use of family belongings in a way he finds wasteful, he's always saying how -he- could have used it.

It's funny how from the first sentence we're told Mary Katherine is eighteen years old, yet how she acts and how she's treated continually reinforces the notion she's a child, as if time stopped for her the night of the poisoning. Charles' threatening her through her cat does this as well. Of course, as the story is being told to us by the young woman in question, who knows how much she's leaving out, or inserting in?


Yolande  (sirus) | 246 comments Puddin Pointy-Toes wrote: "For a while reading the story I noticed that Mary Katherine was forbidden a number of things, some of them the sort of thing you would forbid a child, but others seemingly more arbitrary: she was f..."

You're right, I completely forgot she was eighteen!


message 18: by Traveller (last edited Dec 13, 2015 12:36PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2524 comments Mod
Puddin Pointy-Toes wrote: "For a while reading the story I noticed that Mary Katherine was forbidden a number of things, some of them the sort of thing you would forbid a child, but others seemingly more arbitrary: she was f..."

It will be interesting to see your comments once you get to the ending, Puddin!

Shhh, everyone, no spoilers in response to Puddin's observations, please! :D

Please keep in mind that ending spoilers are for the next thread only. ;)

...and since it's quite high up by now, here is the link: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


Linda Abhors the New GR Design | 269 comments Puddin Pointy-Toes wrote: "For a while reading the story I noticed that Mary Katherine was forbidden a number of things, some of them the sort of thing you would forbid a child, but others seemingly more arbitrary: she was f..."

What I've found strange about MerriKat's personality-you just nailed it.


message 20: by Traveller (last edited Dec 14, 2015 07:40AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2524 comments Mod
LOL, auto-correct strikes again! I noticed just now that in post 15, my :"I might not always always agree, but it often allows me to see more depth in a text. "
became: "I might not always always agree, but it often allows me to see more depth in a test. "

It's only one letter, but...


Linda Abhors the New GR Design | 269 comments Traveller wrote: "LOL, auto-correct strikes again! I noticed just now that in post 15, my :"I might not always always agree, but it often allows me to see more depth in a text. "
became: "I might not always always a..."


Check out Ellen DeGeneres for auto-correct gaffs that are waaaay worse! :D


Traveller (moontravlr) | 2524 comments Mod
I rather like Ellen's show! Thanks, Linda, will do. :)

Oh, this is funny! The duplicated "always" in that sentence had been unintentional; but I only saw it now that I copied and pasted it! :P Sometimes one misses such errors when the duplicated word starts on a new line.

I tend to peck and go with GR. Come in, check new posts, reply and run off again w/out checking for errors. I must really try and be more careful. :P


Linda Abhors the New GR Design | 269 comments Traveller wrote: "I rather like Ellen's show! Thanks, Linda, will do. :)

Oh, this is funny! The duplicated "always" in that sentence had been unintentional; but I only saw it now that I copied and pasted it! :P Som..."


That's all I have time for for about three days! :D


Derek (derek_broughton) Traveller wrote: "Those who don't like Charles - please raise your hands."

*raises hand*

Traveller wrote: "Constance is actually a very submissive person, and Charles was clearly taking advantage of this. (hide spoiler)"

Indeed. I pointed out in the previous thread that Merricat was taking advantage of Constance. Julian might be too, but it's hard to say. There are times he seems more capable than one might expect, but then that's the nature of dementia, too.

Yolande wrote: ""see to it that our most loved daughter is never punished"; "Thomas, give your sister your dinner"; Dorothy - Julian. Rise when our beloved daughter rises"; "bow all your heads to our adored Mary Katherine". I can suddenly see a motive if Constance did poison them. "

Creepy, certainly, but that's not the way I read that passage at all. As others have said, this is Merricat's fantasy—a world in which she is never punished for anything, because on the last day of her parents', aunt's and brother's lives she was being punished. This was where I became certain of what was going on.

Linda wrote: "I'm just throwing out my impressions, Yolande, but you're closer to it, as I read it a few months ago"

Nah, you nailed it :-)

Puddin Pointy-Toes wrote: "Seeing Mary Katherine have these rather, er, malevolent fantasies, it seems pretty clear Constance established these rules for her own protection, whether she consciously realized it or not."

In deference to our fearsomeless leader, I shan't add a spoiler, but q.v. my comment about the rules in the previous thread...


message 25: by Traveller (last edited Dec 15, 2015 02:57PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2524 comments Mod
Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) wrote: "In deference to our fearsomeless leader, I shan't add a spoiler, but q.v. my comment about the rules in the previous thread... .."

I wonder what on earth you could mean by that, Derek...

(view spoiler)


Derek (derek_broughton) Traveller wrote: "I wonder what on earth you could mean by that, Derek..."

Well, I'm afraid I'd already let that cat out of the bag, or perhaps, at least, my opinion of that cat.


Saski (sissah) | 399 comments Doesn't Uncle Julian say something to Charles when he's in a more lucid state (chap 7, I think) about Mary having died in the orphanage. Maybe she is dead, she exists only because Constance 'sees' her, and thus the conflict of Mary being 12 vs. 18. Constance tries to remember Mary would be an adult, but can only 'see' her as the child she was when Constance last saw her.

Okay, I am rambling here. Time to move on to chap 8.


Traveller (moontravlr) | 2524 comments Mod
Ruth wrote: "Doesn't Uncle Julian say something to Charles when he's in a more lucid state (chap 7, I think) about Mary having died in the orphanage. Maybe she is dead, she exists only because Constance 'sees' ..."

Ha! Though he might have been in a less lucid state, because Merrikat giggles at the idea that Uncles Julian thinks she is dead. (Or complains about it? ) Plus Charles also talks to Merrikat, (in fact, does constant battle with her) so hmm, I do suspect that's Uncle Julian being mixed up as usual...


message 29: by Yolande (last edited Dec 17, 2015 11:24AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Yolande  (sirus) | 246 comments Also, the fact that all the Village people can see and pester Merricat. The villagers wouldn't be able to (view spoiler)


message 30: by Traveller (last edited Dec 17, 2015 11:58AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2524 comments Mod
Yolande wrote: "Also the fact that all the Village people can see and pester Merricat. ....."

Yes, of course, there's that as well, plus the fact that Constance stays at home, so how would she know where Merrikat goes and what she does when she goes out? Plus it would be rather wierd for her to narrate as if she is seeing the world through Merrikat's eyes.

..but the fact that Ruth had that thought is, I suspect, typical of the doubt that the narration sows in one's mind, because you instinctively feel that something's off...

PS, this makes me think about stories (there are several) where the twist at the end is that the narrator realizes that he/she is dead, and has been all along ...


Yolande  (sirus) | 246 comments I saw a movie that was like that, 'Passengers'. I liked the drama when the main character finds out she is dead. She totally freaks out.


Derek (derek_broughton) I have to say I wondered about Julian's comment too, but I can't really think of a way the story works if Merricat is actually dead. But I don't think Charles ever does talk to her. he talks to Constance about her, or he talks to Jonas. I'm going to have to reread his conversations with Jonas, to see whether they can work if Merricat really isn't there.


Traveller (moontravlr) | 2524 comments Mod
Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) wrote: "I have to say I wondered about Julian's comment too, but I can't really think of a way the story works if Merricat is actually dead. But I don't think Charles ever does talk to her. he talks to Con..."

I think he does directly talk to her at the start, and then gives up and starts talking to Jonas, typical manipulator that he is.
...but if Merrikat was not there, how would he know she doesn't like him, and why does he get angry at things she does and says it has to stop and she has to be punished? Hmmm, unless Merrikat is a ghost, of course. I suppose the whole story -could- work if Merrikat were a ghost, but how do you explain that she fetches supplies in the village and carries things like books, and she took the gold watch and breaks glasses and mirrors etc. and buries things in the garden still, and builds a barrier against the people from the village, etc


Traveller (moontravlr) | 2524 comments Mod
Oops, there might be a small spoiler in there for this stage of the book, sorry.
(view spoiler)


Linda Abhors the New GR Design | 269 comments Ruth wrote: "Doesn't Uncle Julian say something to Charles when he's in a more lucid state (chap 7, I think) about Mary having died in the orphanage. Maybe she is dead, she exists only because Constance 'sees' ..."

Ruth, I started the novel thinking that they were all ghosts, too. Elsewise, why would one keep the library books for years and years and years? Like the film "The Others"; they couldn't leave that house......sadly, that film came out about 6 months after "The Sixth Sense", and we were all jaded by then.

But no, by the end, I'm sure that's not it. Unless (view spoiler)


message 36: by Traveller (last edited Dec 18, 2015 01:32AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2524 comments Mod
@ Linda re your spoiler: Yes, but then they would still be alive at the start of the story at least.
(view spoiler)


Linda Abhors the New GR Design | 269 comments Traveller wrote: "@ Linda re your spoiler: Yes, but then they would still be alive at the start of the story at least.
You're right, they could be ghosts at the end, but re the library books, remember, the reason f..."


Yeah, that was one of the markers that I was upset with in "The Sixth Sense"....everyone else was in the same state that they were in when they died (bloodied, scarred, sick, pale, etc.) except for the psychologist. His wound didn't appear, although at some points, it would have been covered by clothing. The one gaff in that film.


Derek (derek_broughton) Traveller wrote: "...but if Merrikat was not there, how would he know she doesn't like him, and why does he get angry at things she does and says it has to stop and she has to be punished?"

Because, if she isn't there, that all has to be some sort of split-personality disorder of Constance's (or she's a ghost...). But, as I said, I don't really think it works, but I'm sure there's something important about Julian saying she's dead.


message 39: by Traveller (last edited Dec 18, 2015 09:53AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2524 comments Mod
Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) wrote: "I'm sure there's something important about Julian saying she's dead."

She could be "dead inside"? Or, her conscience could be dead?

It could also be that she is now dead to him because he knows, and he was only being sarcastic when regaling things to Mrs Wright?

...or, the girl that he once knew is now "dead"?

Or, it could simply be a reference to the fact that she is always hiding in the shadows because she is afraid of people?

Or, Ockham's razor says he was simply mixing things up like when he thinks Charles is his own father or the other brother.


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