The mood of We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson is set in the first paragraph which says, “My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the deathcup mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead.”
Mary Katherine Blackwood, also known as Merricat, tells this story in her superstitious twisted sort of way. She lives in the secluded Blackwood Mansion with her older sister Constance, her senile Uncle Julian, who is dying, and her cat Jonas. Merricat goes to town on Tuesday and Friday for food and library books. The village taunts her, making her trips to town very unpleasant, but, “Constance never went past her own garden and Uncle Julian could not. Therefore it was not pride that took me into the village twice a week, or even stubbornness, but only the simple need for books and food.” When Cousin Charles (who thinks there is treasure to be had) comes to visit, Merricat hates him and is determined he will leave. She pulls pranks that ultimately cause his departure but also changes their own lives.