Writer Wednesday: We have always lived in the castle and Dr. Caligari

Writer Wednesday


On Writer Wednesday, I discuss another author and his or her work. On Friday, I discussed some seasonal reads that I reviewed last year on Writer Wednesday during October. In it, I said that I like to read Halloween themed books and mysteries during October. Today, I’d like to talk about one of the works that I’ve read for Halloween this year.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Mary Katherine Blackwell,  nicknamed Merricat, is at the heart of this story and shows the importance of voice and narration in a successful plot. To know Merricat is to know the story. Whether or not she’s a trustworthy narrator, though, is certainly debatable and so knowing her, and thereby the plot, is more complicated than it may at first seem. Secluded in a life of dreaming about the moon, talking to her cat and loving her sister, Merricat battles against the scars of the past and a day that caused almost her entire family’s disappearance. But what really happened? To answer that, you’ll have to read for yourself.

Before I read We Have Always Lived in the Castle, I read that others immediately gave it to their family and friends, so that they could discuss the plot after reading it. That is exactly how I felt after watching what has been dubbed the first horror film: The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari. A thrilling spectacle of surrealism that was made in Germany in 1920, this is an exciting story told in six acts. It tells the story of a carnival that comes to town and the strange appearance of Doctor Caligari and his somnambulist. I won’t say much more about the plot than that. It really is better to just watch. I will say though that We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari share several commonalities. One, the townsfolk love a good spectacle and are given one in each story. Two, there is a question of the mystery related to what happened- for We Have Always Lived in the Castle, it’s the mystery of what happened in the past. For The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, it’s the mystery of the future telling somnambulist. Thirdly, each piece explores and thrives on the question of mental stability.

Both are suitably atmospheric, especially for this most bewitching of seasons!

My best to you all,

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