We Have Always Lived in the Castle


Shirley Jackson

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We Have Always Lived in the Castle Characters

Mary Katherine “Merricat” Blackwood

Merricat narrates the novel. Though she is eighteen during the events she describes, she often acts much younger, smashing things when she’s upset and getting lost in her reveries of living on the moonread analysis of Mary Katherine “Merricat” Blackwood

Constance Blackwood

Constance is Merricat’s sister, who is older by ten years. She more or less runs the household, as she does all of the cooking and takes care of Uncle Julian and the garden. She… read analysis of Constance Blackwood

Uncle Julian Blackwood

Uncle Julian is the brother of Merricat and Constance’s father. He was present at the dinner when the rest of the family was poisoned, and though he did eat some of the poisoned sugar… read analysis of Uncle Julian Blackwood

Charles Blackwood

Cousin to Merricat and Constance. Charles turns up at the house saying that he wants to help the sisters. Though Constance welcomes him, Merricat sees him as a stranger and an intruder and works… read analysis of Charles Blackwood


Merricat’s cat. He seems to be the only being besides Constance that Merricat really loves, and he follows her everywhere. Merricat is (or at least believes herself to be) able to understand him speaking… read analysis of Jonas
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Helen Clarke

Helen Clarke is an old friend of the Blackwood family, and one of the few people who hasn’t abandoned them since the murders. She still comes to tea periodically, and she eventually begins to urge… read analysis of Helen Clarke


Stella runs a café in the village where Merricat always stops on her way home from doing the shopping. Merricat stops there not because she wants to, but because she feels the need to show… read analysis of Stella

Jim Donell

One of the villagers. Jim particularly hates the Blackwoods and he represents the worst of the villagers’ attitudes towards them. He’s also the chief firefighter, and though he leads the effort to put out the… read analysis of Jim Donell

Jim Clarke

Jim Clarke is Helen Clarke’s husband. She brings him to the Blackwood house after it burns to try to get Merricat and Constance to come live in the Clarkes’ house. Later, she sends him… read analysis of Jim Clarke
Minor Characters
Mrs. Lucille Wright
Mrs. Wright is friends with Helen Clarke and accompanies her to tea at the Blackwoods’ house near the beginning of the novel. Mrs. Wright’s curiosity about the poisoning and the trial gives Uncle Julian an audience while making Helen Clarke deeply uncomfortable.
Joe Dunham
One of the hostile villagers. Joe Dunham comes into Stella’s café and joins in Jim Donell’s harassment of Merricat. He’s bitter that he once fixed the Blackwoods’ broken step and never received payment for his work. In truth, Constance refused to pay him because he did a bad job.
Dr. Levy
Uncle Julian’s doctor. He seems uneasy around Merricat, but he is kind to Uncle Julian. He finds Julian dead after the fire. Later, he returns with Jim Clarke to try to make sure the sisters are all right.
Mr. Elbert
The owner of the grocery store where Merricat goes. He tries to get her out the door as quickly as possible.
Mrs. Donell
Jim Donell’s wife, and one of the cruelest villagers.
Mr. Harler
A junkman. While the villagers ruin the house, he makes a pile of the junk that they throw outside.