Monday, April 22, 2019
A to Z: Letters to Dead Writers: Shirley Jackson
This month I'm writing one post for each letter of the alphabet, all on the theme of "Letters to Dead Writers." You can see my theme reveal post here and learn more about the blogging challenge here.
Today's writer is Shirley Jackson
Hello darkness, my old friend! Any time I pick up one of your books or stories, I get this tingle just knowing that you're about to scare and disturb and thrill me again. Even for the books I've read repeatedly (The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle are perennial favorites), the effect lingers.
Your stories are all the scarier for the realization that the monsters are not supernatural in nature, but are just human beings exercising ordinary cruelty. The monsters are us.
Your most famous work is probably the short story "The Lottery." Thanks to its inclusion in many textbooks, most American schoolchildren have a chance to read it in middle or high school.
For me, that story shone, shocking me during a year where most things I was assigned to read bored me silly. Such an unflinching look at what people will do to one another if they believe it will protect them from pain themselves.
The worldview in your stories is dark and unforgiving, but deeply affecting and thought-provoking.