Essay On Shirley Jackson

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, one of my favorite novels, is about a house that may not even be haunted.

The ghost never appears, is never made explicit; all occurrences could be blamed on the main character, an anxious woman named Eleanor.

That’s the thrill of Jackson’s work: the monster is in your head, and scarier than words can describe.

So at first glance, Jackson’s family stories appear to be a complete departure from her usual style.

Best known for her macabre fable "The Lottery," one of the most famous short stories in American history, and her classic of the haunted house genre, , Jackson was a lifelong aficionado of all things magical, and it profoundly impacted her writing.

Essay On Shirley Jackson

"Jackson had always had an imaginative, even magical mind, filled with witchcraft lore, myths, and fantasies of her own devising," her biographer, Ruth Franklin, explains in Jackson, who had four children with her husband, literary critic Stanley Edgar Hyman, was a daydreamer by personality, to be sure, but her affinity for the fantastical also helped her maintain her prolific writing while raising a family with little help from her husband.Each story displays the signature humor she lends to all her writing.Sometimes it is a dark, creeping humor—funny, but unsettling.As usual, Jackson draws you in expecting one thing, spins you around and presents you another.There are dishes and dirty laundry, but also magic and intrigue.Many early critics were disappointed that the author of the disturbing novel had penned “inconsequential” stories of motherhood and managing house.“It is something of a shock,” one wrote, “to read such ephemeral fluff.” (3)But really, the books are classic Shirley Jackson.She writes:"Most of my time, actually, is spent doing things that require no very great imaginative ability, and the only way to make these mechanical jobs more palatable is to think about something else while I am doing them.I tell myself stories all day long, and have managed to weave a fairy tale of infinite complexity around the inanimate objects in my house, so much so that no one in my family is surprised to find me putting the waffle iron away on a different shelf because in my story it has quarreled with the toaster, and if I left them together they might come to blows; they had quarreled, incidentally, over my getting some of the frozen waffles you drop in the toaster, and the waffle iron was furious.Furniture refuses to stay put, a flower arrangement is delivered, apparently from Sally’s imaginary friend, and you can never quite get your bearings on who is telling the truth and what is real.Other times, it is a humor that will have you in stitches—like when Stanley and Shax, the family’s cat, attempt (and fail) to capture a bat flying around the living room.


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