We Have Always Lived in the Castle

We Have Always Lived in the Castle Imagery

The Blackwood house

Jackson uses rich imagery to describe the Blackwood house and property. The first thing the reader learns about it is that it is isolated from the rest of the town, which is also the most important thing about the house to Merricat and Constance. Merricat repeatedly describes the house and yard as a site of safety and protection. While the house itself is a sanctuary for her, the yard is also full of magical protection. “All our land was enriched with my treasures buried in it, thickly inhabited just below the surface with my marbles and my teeth and my colored stones, all perhaps turned to jewels by now, held together under the ground in a powerful taut web which never loosened, but held fast to guard us,” Merricat says, lovingly describing the network of small “treasures” that protect her home.

Constance's appearance

Jackson never reveals much about the appearance of Merricat (besides that she is often dirty) or the other characters, but Merricat describes Constance angelically in her narration. She says that as a child, she thought Constance was a “fairy princess,” lovingly stating that the vibrant pictures she drew as a child were the only thing that could capture the brilliance of Constance’s golden hair, blue eyes, and pink cheeks. While one might expect Merricat to say she couldn’t possibly capture Constance in a drawing, it’s even more touching that she thinks Constance looks like a child’s idealized portrait of her. Merricat calls Constance “the most precious person in my world, always,” rhapsodizing about her beauty.

Jonas's restlessness

Anticipating a change coming at the beginning of Chapter 3, Merricat describes Jonas's restlessness, which she takes as an omen of change. She says that Jonas is "running up a storm" and describes him roaming around the house, running quickly. This restlessness foreshadows the arrival of Charles, a change in and of itself. Charles also tries to create change within the Blackwood family by encouraging Constance to leave the house.

The moon

Merricat frequently returns to the idea of her fantasy life on the moon, where everything is perfect. She imagines lush gardens and a beautiful house on the moon, contrasting with her reality on earth. In a chilling moment in the first chapter, Merricat lovingly describes her dream life on the moon along with her graphic fantasies of the deaths of villagers who torment her, juxtaposing the innocent, childish fantasy with one of violent murder.