We Have Always Lived in the Castle


Shirley Jackson

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Jim Donell Character Analysis

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 fire at the Blackwood house, he also throws the first rock that spurs the villagers to storm the house and destroy it.

Jim Donell Quotes in We Have Always Lived in the Castle

The We Have Always Lived in the Castle quotes below are all either spoken by Jim Donell or refer to Jim Donell. 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 8 Quotes

Very carefully he put up his hands and took off his hat saying CHIEF and while everyone watched he walked slowly down the steps and over to the fire engine and set his hat down on the front seat. Then he bent down, searching thoughtfully, and finally, while everyone watched, he took up a rock. In complete silence he turned slowly and then raised his arm and smashed the rock through one of the tall windows of our mother’s drawing room. A wall of laughter rose and grew behind him and then, first the boys on the steps and then the other men and at last the women and the smaller children, they moved like a wave at our house.

Related Characters: Mary Katherine “Merricat” Blackwood (speaker), Jim Donell
Page Number: 106-106
Explanation and Analysis:
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Jim Donell Character Timeline in We Have Always Lived in the Castle

The timeline below shows where the character Jim Donell appears in We Have Always Lived in the Castle. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Guilt and Punishment Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
...for reasons of pride, so she orders black coffee even though she doesn’t like it. Jim Donell comes in. He and his wife are particularly cruel. He sits right next to Merricat,... (full context)
Isolation Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
Stella tells Jim Donell to leave Merricat alone, but he continues wondering aloud why the villagers are saying that... (full context)
Isolation Theme Icon
Jim Donell remarks on the Blackwoods’ isolated way of life. Merricat knows that he could go on... (full context)
Isolation Theme Icon
Stella tells Merricat that she should go home. Jim Donell lets her get off her stool, saying they’ll all help the family pack when they... (full context)
Chapter 8
Family and Gender Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
...onto the porch just as fire engines roar into the driveway. Constance covers her face. Jim Donell runs into the house first, and the sisters hide behind vines growing on the porch... (full context)
Guilt and Punishment Theme Icon
The Relativity of Truth Theme Icon
...sound disappointed. The villagers wish the house had burned down with the Blackwoods inside. When Jim Donell emerges, someone asks him why he couldn’t let it burn. He puts his hat that... (full context)