In what ways does Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle illustrate Feminism?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The original question had to be edited down.  I would suggest that feminism is presented in the novel as a response to the repression and cruelty found in the world around the sisters.  Merricat sincerely believes that the repression in the world is a good enough reason to avoid it.  She also believes and is quite accurate in her understanding that Charles is only interested in the family, particularly Constance, for his own gain.  Uncle Julian's paralysis and condition of silence is reflective of how the notion of good or virtue itself can be stilled in such a social condition.  Merricat sincerely wants to live in sisterhood with Constance.  It is here where I think that an ideal of feminism can be seen as an active response to the condition of the world.  Constance and Merricat's solidarity with one another reflects how feminism can be a statement in which individual identity can be affirmed despite the condition of the world around an individual.  The repression of the townspeople and the manipulation seen in Charles cannot be immediately changed or altered.  However, it becomes clear that the sisterhood forged between both women can provide a realm in which women do not have to become appropriated or victimized by that which is embedded in society.  In this, a statement of feminism is offered in the Jackson novel.

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