We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Helen Clarke Character Analysis

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 Constance to reenter the world. While Helen Clarke is friendly to the sisters, she insists repeatedly that the villagers are no longer a danger to the Blackwoods, which proves not to be true. This shows that, while Helen Clarke’s attempted kindness sets her apart, she is no less dangerous to the sisters than the rest of the villagers.

Helen Clarke Quotes in We Have Always Lived in the Castle

The We Have Always Lived in the Castle quotes below are all either spoken by Helen Clarke or refer to Helen Clarke. 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 2 Quotes

I must have known what she was going to say, because I was chilled; all this day had been building up to what Helen Clarke was going to say right now. I sat low in my chair and looked hard at Constance, wanting her to get up and run away, wanting her not to hear what was just about to be said, but Helen Clarke went on, “It’s spring, you’re young, you’re lovely, you have a right to be happy. Come back into the world.”

Once, even a month ago when it was still winter, words like that would have made Constance draw back and run away; now, I saw that she was listening and smiling, although she shook her head.

Related Characters: Mary Katherine “Merricat” Blackwood (speaker), Helen Clarke (speaker), Constance Blackwood
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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“Another child, my niece Mary Katherine, was not at table.”

“She was in her room,” Mrs. Wright said.

“A great child of twelve, sent to bed without her supper. But she need not concern us.”

I laughed, and Constance said to Helen Clarke, “Merricat was always in disgrace. I used to go up the back stairs with a tray of dinner for her after my father had left the dining room. She was a wicked, disobedient child,” and she smiled at me.

“An unhealthy environment,” Helen Clarke said. “A child should be punished for wrongdoing, but she should be made to feel that she is still loved.”

Related Characters: Constance Blackwood (speaker), Uncle Julian Blackwood (speaker), Helen Clarke (speaker), Mrs. Lucille Wright (speaker), Mary Katherine “Merricat” Blackwood
Related Symbols: Food
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 9 Quotes

“She certainly wanted her tea,” I said to Constance when I came back to the kitchen.

“We have only two cups with handles,” Constance said. “She will never take tea here again.”

“It’s a good thing Uncle Julian’s gone, or one of us would have to use a broken cup.”

Related Characters: Mary Katherine “Merricat” Blackwood (speaker), Constance Blackwood (speaker), Uncle Julian Blackwood, Helen Clarke
Page Number: 124
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Helen Clarke Character Timeline in We Have Always Lived in the Castle

The timeline below shows where the character Helen Clarke appears in We Have Always Lived in the Castle. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Isolation Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
...where they’ll stay forever, and prepare the food. She asks whether Constance is afraid because Helen Clarke is coming to visit. Constance says she isn’t. A few acquaintances still visit for a... (full context)
Female Power Theme Icon
Family and Gender Theme Icon
Guilt and Punishment Theme Icon
...room is beautiful and the sisters keep it clean, though they only use it for Helen Clarke ’s visits. Their mother always kept the room perfectly, and her portrait hangs there. Constance... (full context)
Isolation Theme Icon
Merricat watches at the window. She asks whether Constance is frightened, which Constance denies. When Helen Clarke ’s car arrives, there are two people in it. Merricat wants to send Helen away,... (full context)
Isolation Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
The guests enter the drawing room, and Helen Clarke ’s awkwardness forces Mrs. Wright to sit in a corner, while she herself sits too... (full context)
Isolation Theme Icon
Helen Clarke says she’s going to give Constance advice, as a friend. Merricat has a bad feeling... (full context)
Isolation Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
Helen Clarke eats numerous sandwiches. Merricat believes that Helen Clarke thinks she can act however she likes... (full context)
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
...Constance is beginning to look tired. She hears Uncle Julian coming and opens the door. Helen Clarke asks whether people would be afraid to visit the house. Uncle Julian greets the visitors,... (full context)
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
Uncle Julian remarks on how fascinating the case is. Helen Clarke tries to stop him from talking about it, but he mentions tasting arsenic and Mrs.... (full context)
Female Power Theme Icon
Guilt and Punishment Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
...some people. Constance eats neither sugar nor berries, which counted against her at her trial. Helen Clarke tries to stop them from continuing on this subject, as she pities Constance, but Constance... (full context)
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
...begins to doubt whether it actually happened, but Constance assures him it did. He invites Helen Clarke to see the dining room where it occurred, saying he wanted to be a witness... (full context)
Female Power Theme Icon
Family and Gender Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
...had to cook dinner, but Uncle Julian says that Mrs. Blackwood was an awful cook. Helen Clarke interjects that Mrs. Wright wasn’t supposed to bring up this topic, and they should leave. (full context)
Guilt and Punishment Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
...forgotten. Mrs. Wright can’t reconcile the Constance she’s met with her image of the murderer. Helen Clarke finally tells Mrs. Wright that she’s leaving. Merricat points out that Mrs. Wright hasn’t drunk... (full context)
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
Constance expresses exasperation with Helen Clarke and points out that Merricat was teasing Mrs. Wright. Merricat says she always wants to... (full context)
Chapter 3
Family and Gender Theme Icon
Guilt and Punishment Theme Icon
...Constance might suspect it. Merricat watches Constance looking often down the driveway. The day after Helen Clarke ’s visit, Uncle Julian stays in bed, and Jonas is restless, often running all over... (full context)
Chapter 8
Guilt and Punishment Theme Icon
...get to the woods. While they hesitate, two more cars arrive, and Jim Clarke and Helen Clarke get out of one. Jim Clarke goes inside, enraged at what’s happening, but his words... (full context)
Guilt and Punishment Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
...shouts, and then the villagers surround them, pushing to see them better and taunting them. Helen Clarke is crying against her car. The villagers don’t want to touch the sisters, and so... (full context)
Chapter 9
Isolation Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
It’s Helen Clarke ’s day to come to tea, but Merricat and Constance will have to straighten the... (full context)
Isolation Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
...and Merricat are all that’s left, and they’re going to isolate themselves more than ever. Helen Clarke will never come to tea again. (full context)
Female Power Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
...Then someone begins to knock on the front door, and they run into the cellar. Helen Clarke begins to call their names outside. Merricat wonders if she has come for tea. She... (full context)
Female Power Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
Merricat thinks they’ll have to cover the kitchen window so Helen Clarke won’t be able to see in if she returns. Helen continues to call to them,... (full context)
Chapter 10
Female Power Theme Icon
Guilt and Punishment Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
Helen Clarke returns to knock and call for the sisters, but when she sees the barricade she... (full context)