Shirley Jackson (1916-1965) was an American author known for her dark stories of mystery and horror. Her best known work is the short-story, "The Lottery
", about the dark underside of American small-town life, which has been adapted for film three times. Her novel The Haunting of Hill House
has been adapted for film twice, and several of her other works have been adapted for the stage or screen. She only wrote about half-a-dozen novels, but was a prolific short-story author.
In 2007, the Shirley Jackson Award for outstanding achievement in psychological suspense and dark fantasy was created in her honor.
Works with a page on this wiki:
Other works include:
- The Bird's Nest (1954)
- Raising Demons (memoir, 1957)
- The Road Through the Wall (her first novel, 1948)
- The Sundial (1958)
Tropes in her other works:
- All Cloth Unravels: In the very slightly autobiographical book Raising Demons, on a family trip to New York, 6-year-old Sally ties the loose thread of her knitted hat to a seat in the train before getting off: "I'd like to see that train get away," she says. Things don't get really challenging until the hotel turns out to have a revolving door.
- Imaginary Friend: Life Among the Savages, essays based on her family, describes a shopping trip with her son, daughter, and her daughter's seven daughters, all named Martha, whom Joanne has adopted after their real parents killed each other.
- Lovecraft Country: Jackson lived most of her adult life in Vermont, and many of her stories have the requisite flinty creepiness.
- Mistaken for an Imposter: The short story Louisa, Please Come Home concerns a nineteen-year-old girl who runs away from home and returns three years later only to find that she Can't Go Home Again. Because her family thinks she's an imposter after the reward money. Dramatic Irony ensues.
- Verbal Tic: In her loosely autobiographical Raising Demons, Jackson describes her daughter Sally going through a phase, at about four, where she repeated the key word in every sentence: "Well, I told Amy's mother that I did not have any breakfast, breakfast, because my mommy did not wake up and give it to me, mommy. And Amy's mother said I was a poor baby, baby, and she gave me cereal and fruit, cereal, and she said there, dear, and she gave me chocolate milk, and I did remember to say thank you, remember." (Jackson was gifted at capturing the Verbal Tic s of small children's speech: "You bad bad webbis.")
- Wham Line: In one chapter of ''Life Among the Savages', her son Laurie, a new kindergartener, is constantly telling stories about a mischievous classmate Charles whose inventively naughty behavior fascinates both parents. The narrator sets out for her first parent-teacher conference eager to meet Charles' mother. The teacher remarks that Laurie has had some trouble adjusting and his mother blames it on Charles' influence. The teacher is confused: