Shirley Jackson: The Embodiment Of The Supernatural

1932 words - 8 pages

The supernatural cannot be explained by logic nor reasoning, neither can it be studied by science, since the intangible force that controls the supernatural cannot be measured or controlled by the intellect. Shirley Jackson expressed “interest in superstition, and the supernatural” as a child; her interest in the occult led Jackson to become a practicing witch, Lenemaja Friedman Professor of English Literature confirms this in her book Shirley Jackson (Friedman 19). Jackson critics, felt that her stories were the works of a twisted mind, because of this “Jackson downplayed the single real-life parallel to her fiction — her personal study and practice of witchcraft” in order to debunk the critics evaluation of her mind as brought to light by Charles Avinger in his essay Shirley Jackson Identities & Issues in Literature (Avinger). Shirley Jackson’s interest in superstitions, and delving into the supernatural influenced the writing of “Home”, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and The Haunting of Hill House.
The village people in “Home” have a superstitious belief that the Sanderson road is haunted when it rains. Ethel Sloan and her husband Jim Sloan have just recently purchased the old Sanderson place; when Ethel tells the store clerk, and the grocer she drove the Sanderson road to the village in the rain, they try to warn her of a mysterious danger in connection with the road. The villager’s superstitions, do not allow them to tell Ethel exactly why the Sanderson road should not be traveled in the rain; the clerk and the grocer only infer that they avoid traveling on the Sanderson road when it is storming, causing Ethel to believe that the road is not traveled because of its rough condition. The village people believe the ghost, of the “little Sanderson boy … [and the] … crazy old woman [who] took him,” haunt the Sanderson road when it rains, after they both are thought to of drowned in the creek sixty years before on a rainy day, Shirley Jackson implies this in “Home” in Dennis Pepper’s book Ghost stories(Jackson and Pepper 117). A superstitious mist that enshrouds the Sanderson road is the heartbeat of the story that brings the villagers and the Sloans together; throughout the narrative Jackson implies that the spirit realm has the ability to alter the actions of the living.
Jackson has a supernatural element in “Home,” that nearly kills Ethel Sloan. After being warned that Sanderson road should be avoided on rainy days, Ethel pass it off as concern over the condition of the bridge over the creek, not realizing she is about to encounter the supernatural. Ethel picks up a boy, and an elderly lady standing in the rain on Sanderson road, who request Ethel take the little boy home; when Ethel reaches the driveway to the Sanderson home “the backseat of the car [is] empty” without even a trace of dampness on the car’s seats from the rain soaked passengers (Jackson and Pepper 116). The phenomenon of beings mystically disappearing, and...

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