We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Charles Blackwood Character Analysis

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 tirelessly to get rid of him. He initially tries to befriend her, but quickly turns hostile, essentially threatening to steal Constance from her. He refuses to put up with Merricat’s eccentricities as Constance does, and he wants to punish her. He also becomes irritated with Uncle Julian’s physical illness and delusions, making an enemy of the sharp-tongued old man. Charles allies himself entirely with Constance and begins to turn her against Merricat. Though nothing is said explicitly, it is implied that he hopes to marry Constance and get access to the money that her father has left in the safe in his study. It certainly becomes clear that he cares about little other than money, making him into a sort of living copy of the sisters’ dead father, John Blackwood. Charles represents the Blackwood masculinity against which Merricat and Constance rebel by entirely disregarding the value of money or social status.

Charles Blackwood Quotes in We Have Always Lived in the Castle

The We Have Always Lived in the Castle quotes below are all either spoken by Charles Blackwood or refer to Charles Blackwood. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Female Power Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of We Have Always Lived in the Castle published in 2016.
Chapter 4 Quotes

“Merricat,” Constance said; she turned and looked at me, smiling. “It’s our cousin, our cousin Charles Blackwood. I knew him at once; he looks like Father.”

“Well, Mary,” he said. He stood up; he was taller now that he was inside, bigger and bigger as he came closer to me. “Got a kiss for your cousin Charles?”

Behind him the kitchen door was open wide; he was the first one who had ever gotten inside and Constance had let him in.... I was held tight, wound round with wire, I couldn’t breathe, and I had to run.

Related Characters: Mary Katherine “Merricat” Blackwood (speaker), Constance Blackwood (speaker), Charles Blackwood (speaker)
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 6 Quotes

“In a tree,” he said, and his voice was shaking too. “I found it nailed to a tree, for God’s sake. What kind of a house is this?”

“It’s not important,” Constance said. “Really, Charles, it’s not important.”

“Not important? Connie, this thing’s made of gold.”

“But no one wants it.”

“One of the links is smashed.... what a hell of a way to treat a valuable thing. We could have sold it,” he said to Constance.

“But why?”

Related Characters: Constance Blackwood (speaker), Charles Blackwood (speaker), Mary Katherine “Merricat” Blackwood
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:

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“We should have faced the world and tried to live normal lives; Uncle Julian should have been in a hospital all these years, with good care and nurses to watch him. We should have been living like other people. You should...” She stopped, and waved her hands helplessly. “You should have boy friends,” she said finally, and then began to laugh because she sounded funny even to herself.

Related Characters: Mary Katherine “Merricat” Blackwood (speaker), Constance Blackwood (speaker), Uncle Julian Blackwood, Charles Blackwood
Page Number: 82
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 7 Quotes

“My niece Mary Katherine has been a long time dead, young man. She did not survive the loss of her family; I supposed you knew that.”

“What?” Charles turned furiously to Constance.

“My niece Mary Katherine died in an orphanage, of neglect, during her sister’s trial for murder. But she is of very little consequence to my book, and so we will have done with her.”

Related Characters: Uncle Julian Blackwood (speaker), Charles Blackwood (speaker), Mary Katherine “Merricat” Blackwood, Constance Blackwood
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 8 Quotes

I brushed the saucer and the pipe off the table into the wastebasket and they fell softly on to the newspapers he had brought into the house.

I was wondering about my eyes; one of my eyes—the left—saw everything golden and yellow and orange, and the other eye saw shades of blue and grey and green; perhaps one eye was for daylight and the other was for night. If everyone in the world saw different colors from different eyes there might be a great many colors still to be invented.

Related Characters: Mary Katherine “Merricat” Blackwood (speaker), Charles Blackwood
Page Number: 99-100
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 10 Quotes

“If you let me go this time, you’ll never see me again. I mean it, Connie.... Take a last look,” he said. “I’m going. One word could make me stay.”

I did not think he was going to go in time. I honestly did not know whether Constance was going to be able to contain herself until he got down the steps and safely into the car.... Charles looked back once more, raised his hand sadly, and got into the car. Then Constance laughed, and I laughed... and we held each other in the dark hall and laughed, with the tears running down our cheeks....

“I am so happy,” Constance said at last, gasping. “Merricat, I am so happy.”

“I told you that you would like it on the moon.”

Related Characters: Mary Katherine “Merricat” Blackwood (speaker), Constance Blackwood (speaker), Charles Blackwood (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Moon
Page Number: 144-45
Explanation and Analysis:

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Charles Blackwood Character Timeline in We Have Always Lived in the Castle

The timeline below shows where the character Charles Blackwood appears in We Have Always Lived in the Castle. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Family and Gender Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
...be safe until someone said her three magic words. Constance introduces Merricat to their cousin, Charles Blackwood. He wants Merricat to greet him with a kiss. Constance tries to soothe Merricat,... (full context)
Chapter 5
Family and Gender Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
Merricat and Constance are talking about breakfast and planting leaves when Constance says that Charles is still asleep, and suddenly Merricat can’t breathe. She insists that Charles was a ghost... (full context)
Family and Gender Theme Icon
Constance insists that Charles is in the house, and he’s their cousin. His father wouldn’t let him help the... (full context)
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
Constance says they’ll neaten the house after Charles wakes up. She sweeps up the broken glass while Merricat eats breakfast. Constance brings Uncle... (full context)
Family and Gender Theme Icon
Constance greets Charles in the hall. He and Uncle Julian meet, and Charles reveals that, contrary to Uncle... (full context)
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
Merricat can’t see Charles clearly, either because of his size or because he’s a ghost. She hides in a... (full context)
Female Power Theme Icon
Family and Gender Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
Uncle Julian commends Charles’s chivalry and, finding out that he’s thirty-two, remarks that Constance is approximately twenty-eight. He thinks... (full context)
Family and Gender Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
Uncle Julian decides to return to an earlier chapter in which he discussed Charles’s family. Charles, however, wants everyone to forget about the trial. Uncle Julian feels that Charles... (full context)
Family and Gender Theme Icon
Jonas sits in the doorway. Charles tells Jonas that Merricat doesn’t like him, and asks how he can make her like... (full context)
Female Power Theme Icon
Family and Gender Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
...window to check on Uncle Julian. She says they won’t clean their father’s room, since Charles is staying there, and she considers wearing their mother’s pearls, but then laughs at herself... (full context)
Family and Gender Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
...the floor as she dusts the trim. Constance remarks that she should have already shown Charles this room, and she insists that Merricat will have to sit at the table with... (full context)
Female Power Theme Icon
Family and Gender Theme Icon
The sisters return to the kitchen, where Charles is smoking. When Constance goes outside to get Uncle Julian, Charles tells Jonas that Merricat... (full context)
Family and Gender Theme Icon
At dinner, Charles watches Constance helping Uncle Julian eat. Merricat doesn’t eat because Constance put dressing on her... (full context)
Female Power Theme Icon
Family and Gender Theme Icon
Guilt and Punishment Theme Icon
Charles offers to fix the broken back step and go into the village for groceries, and... (full context)
Chapter 6
Female Power Theme Icon
Family and Gender Theme Icon
Constance gives Charles the shopping list and a key to the gate. When she gives him grocery money,... (full context)
Female Power Theme Icon
Family and Gender Theme Icon
Merricat goes to her father’s room to look for a magic object to use against Charles. Since Charles is staying here, the room is filled with his things. An open drawer... (full context)
Female Power Theme Icon
Family and Gender Theme Icon
Later that day, Charles brings the watch chain to the kitchen, having found it in the tree. He’s enraged... (full context)
Family and Gender Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
Merricat decides that the next step is to ask Charles politely to leave, before he leaves his mark on the house any more than he... (full context)
Family and Gender Theme Icon
Merricat goes outside to ask Charles to leave. She tries to be kind to him in her thoughts, but when she... (full context)
Family and Gender Theme Icon
Merricat has been doing a better job of being kind to Uncle Julian. Charles hates watching Uncle Julian eat and says he should wear a bib. Charles eats huge... (full context)
Family and Gender Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
One afternoon, Merricat follows Charles to the edge of the village, where she sees him sit down with the village... (full context)
Female Power Theme Icon
Family and Gender Theme Icon
Merricat goes to look for Jonas, and Charles returns with a scarf that Merricat had used to tie the gate shut. He’s irritated... (full context)
Isolation Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
...Constance and Uncle Julian are. Uncle Julian demands a box for his papers so that Charles can’t touch them. He calls Charles dishonest and a bastard. Constance brings him a box... (full context)
Female Power Theme Icon
Family and Gender Theme Icon
...evening, Constance plays songs that their mother played on the harp in the drawing room. Charles is restless while he listens, but doesn’t dare put his feet on the furniture. Uncle... (full context)
Chapter 7
Family and Gender Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
Merricat decides that Thursday is the day to get rid of Charles. Constance makes spice cookies, which is a shame because they’ll go to waste since it’s... (full context)
Female Power Theme Icon
...with these scraps. She pours water on the bed and tears down the curtains so Charles will have to see the road leading away. In this room, he won’t know who... (full context)
Family and Gender Theme Icon
Merricat is lying in her room when she hears Charles shouting angrily to Constance outside. He hasn’t managed to mend the step. He’s carrying the... (full context)
Female Power Theme Icon
Constance goes inside to answer Uncle Julian’s call, and Charles follows. When Charles goes to put the silver dollars in the safe, Merricat runs outside.... (full context)
Female Power Theme Icon
Family and Gender Theme Icon
Guilt and Punishment Theme Icon
Merricat cleans out her shelter because Charles was so close to it. She returns home when she gets hungry, and Charles is... (full context)
Guilt and Punishment Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
Charles has brought a handful of sticks and dirt from his room and placed it on... (full context)
Family and Gender Theme Icon
Guilt and Punishment Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
Constance looks like she’s going to cry, and Merricat calls Charles evil. He says the house is crazy, and Constance tries to pacify him by saying... (full context)
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
Uncle Julian tells Charles to be quiet, and Charles says he has to deal with Merricat first. Julian, however,... (full context)
Family and Gender Theme Icon
Guilt and Punishment Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
Constance cleans the dirt off the table while Charles looks baffled, and Merricat thinks Charles is becoming trapped. Constance tells him to go rest,... (full context)
Chapter 8
Guilt and Punishment Theme Icon
...Jonas stand looking at the house with love. Merricat thinks it is almost clean of Charles’s influence. He’s still angry at her when she goes in, and Merricat can tell that... (full context)
Family and Gender Theme Icon
Merricat goes upstairs and creeps into Charles’s room. Constance has cleaned the dirt out and now it looks very empty, because Merricat... (full context)
Guilt and Punishment Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
...she returns to the dinner table. She requests that Constance make her a cake. When Charles threatens her with the prospect of a long talk, Merricat says the Latin name for... (full context)
Guilt and Punishment Theme Icon
Suddenly Charles smells smoke. Constance checks the kitchen and Charles the hall. He suspects that Merricat is... (full context)
Guilt and Punishment Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
...wants to shut the door to her father’s room to keep the fire confined to Charles’s things, but it’s already coming outside the room. Everything belonging to Charles must be burnt... (full context)
Family and Gender Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
...rest of the firefighters drag hoses in and light up the front of the house. Charles is yelling for the men to get the safe. Constance is worried that people might... (full context)
Family and Gender Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
Someone asks where the sisters and Uncle Julian are, but Charles says they’re fine. Merricat thinks Uncle Julian must have gotten out the back door, but... (full context)
Guilt and Punishment Theme Icon
...faces in the crowd in the yard. She thinks of the fire as belonging to Charles and marvels at the firemen’s ability to destroy it. She can hear the fire and... (full context)
Guilt and Punishment Theme Icon
...shatter the windows and break the Dresden figurines and the harp, laughing all the while. Charles tries to get someone to help him with the safe. The villagers begin to chant... (full context)
Family and Gender Theme Icon
Guilt and Punishment Theme Icon
...announces that the fun is over, because Uncle Julian is dead. The villagers fall silent. Charles asks whether Constance killed him, and the crowd moves away from the sisters. Dr. Levy... (full context)
Chapter 10
Female Power Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
One afternoon, Charles arrives in a car with another man. They walk up to the steps, and Merricat... (full context)
Family and Gender Theme Icon
Guilt and Punishment Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
The man hides behind the car and Charles calls out to Constance. Merricat can tell that she now sees Charles for what he... (full context)
Female Power Theme Icon
Family and Gender Theme Icon
Guilt and Punishment Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
The man says that Charles is wasting his breath, but Charles says he needs to see them because it’s his... (full context)
Female Power Theme Icon
Family and Gender Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
...inside. The sisters think that people will start calling the path Lover’s Lane, perhaps after Charles. Constance says Charles should have shot himself in the head in the driveway. They learn... (full context)