We feel such menace in the homes at the hearts of Jackson’s later three novels: the Halloran estate in The Sundial, the titular property in The Haunting of Hill House, and the Blackwood mansion in We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Each home promises lavish comfort, at least for some of its inhabitants; each is built as an extensive world unto itself, a testament to the wealth of its owner; each stands distinct from the wider world, just as a gated suburb self-insulates from its surroundings. But if wealth allows these characters their elaborate exercises in world building, then it also condemns them to suffer the resentment of the surrounding villagers who, like Jackson’s own neighbors, tend toward a threatening tribalism.
Jackson also directs our attention to the ways in which material displays of wealth, not just social surroundings, can be alienating. The group that Dr. Montague assembles to investigate paranormal activity at Hill House becomes quickly overwhelmed by its opulence: between the “towers and turrets and buttresses and wooden lace, Gothic spires and gargoyles,” they struggle to feel settled in this “masterpiece of architectural misdirection.” In The Sundial, Aunt Fanny becomes similarly bewildered by the Halloran estate where she was raised, suggesting that the wealthy, by delegating their domestic labor to others, may never feel at home in a place from which they are fundamentally estranged. From its construction to its daily upkeep, the Halloran estate is entirely the work of others hired from the distant city, specifically to keep the villagers out.
In case someone doesn't know who Shirley Jackson is, this is from Wikipedia:
Shirley Hardie Jackson (December 14, 1916 – August 8, 1965) was an American writer known primarily for her works of horror and mystery. Over the duration of her writing career, which spanned over two decades, she composed six novels, two memoirs, and more than 200 short stories.
Born in San Francisco, California, Jackson attended Syracuse University in New York, where she became involved with the university's literary magazine and met her future husband Stanley Edgar Hyman. After they graduated, the couple moved to New York and began contributing to The New Yorker, with Jackson as a fiction writer and Hyman as a contributor to "Talk of the Town". The couple settled in North Bennington, Vermont, in 1945, after the birth of their first child, when Hyman joined the faculty of Bennington College.
After publishing her debut novel The Road Through the Wall (1948), a semi-autobiographical account of her childhood in California, Jackson gained significant public attention for her short story "The Lottery", which presents the sinister underside of a bucolic American village. She continued to publish numerous short stories in literary journals and magazines throughout the 1950s, some of which were assembled and reissued in her 1953 memoir Life Among the Savages. In 1959, she published The Haunting of Hill House, a supernatural horror novel widely considered to be one of the best ghost stories ever written.[a] Jackson's 1962 novel We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a Gothic mystery which has been described as Jackson's masterpiece.
By the 1960s, Jackson's health began to deteriorate significantly, ultimately leading to her death due to a heart condition in 1965 at the age of 48.
[. . .]
"The Lottery" and early publications
In 1948, Jackson published her debut novel, The Road Through the Wall, which tells a semi-autobiographical account of her childhood growing up in Burlingame, California, in the 1920s. Jackson's most famous story, "The Lottery", first published in The New Yorker on June 26, 1948, established her reputation as a master of the horror tale. The story prompted over 300 letters from readers, many of them outraged at its conjuring of a dark aspect of human nature, characterized by, as Jackson put it, "bewilderment, speculation, and old-fashioned abuse". In the July 22, 1948, issue of the San Francisco Chronicle, Jackson offered the following in response to persistent queries from her readers about her intentions: "Explaining just what I had hoped the story to say is very difficult. I suppose I hoped, by setting a particularly brutal ancient rite in the present and in my own village, to shock the story's readers with a graphic dramatization of the pointless violence and general inhumanity in their own lives."
The critical reaction to the story was unequivocally positive; the story quickly became a standard in anthologies and was adapted for television in 1952. In 1949, "The Lottery" was published in a short story collection of Jackson's titled The Lottery and Other Stories.
Jackson's second novel, Hangsaman (1951), contained elements similar to the mysterious real-life December 1, 1946, disappearance of an 18-year-old Bennington College sophomore Paula Jean Welden. This event, which remains unsolved to this day, took place in the wooded wilderness of Glastenbury Mountain near Bennington in southern Vermont, where Jackson and her family were living at the time. The fictional college depicted in Hangsaman is based in part on Jackson's experiences at Bennington College, as indicated by Jackson's papers in the Library of Congress. The event also served as inspiration for her short story "The Missing Girl" (first published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1957, and posthumously in Just an Ordinary Day ).
The following year, she published Life Among the Savages, a semi-autobiographical collection of short stories based on her own life with her four children, many of which had been published prior in popular magazines such as Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day and Collier's. Semi-fictionalized versions of her marriage and the experience of bringing up four children, these works are "true-to-life funny-housewife stories" of the type later popularized by such writers as Jean Kerr and Erma Bombeck during the 1950s and 1960s.
Reluctant to discuss her work with the public, Jackson wrote in Stanley J. Kunitz and Howard Haycraft's Twentieth Century Authors (1955):
I very much dislike writing about myself or my work, and when pressed for autobiographical material can only give a bare chronological outline which contains, naturally, no pertinent facts. I was born in San Francisco in 1919 [sic] and spent most of my early life in California. I was married in 1940 to Stanley Edgar Hyman, critic and numismatist, and we live in Vermont, in a quiet rural community with fine scenery and comfortably far away from city life. Our major exports are books and children, both of which we produce in abundance. The children are Laurence, Joanne, Sarah, and Barry: my books include three novels, The Road Through the Wall, Hangsaman, The Bird's Nest and a collection of short stories, The Lottery. Life Among the Savages is a disrespectful memoir of my children.
"The persona that Jackson presented to the world was powerful, witty, even imposing," wrote Zoë Heller in The New Yorker. "She could be sharp and aggressive with fey Bennington girls and salesclerks and people who interrupted her writing. Her letters are filled with tartly funny observations. Describing the bewildered response of The New Yorker readers to 'The Lottery,' she notes, 'The number of people who expected Mrs. Hutchinson to win a Bendix washing machine at the end would amaze you.'"
The Haunting of Hill House and other works
In 1954, Jackson published The Bird's Nest (1954), which detailed a woman with multiple personalities and her relationship with her psychiatrist. One of Jackson's publishers, Roger Straus, deemed The Bird's Nest "a perfect novel", but the publishing house marketed it as a psychological horror story, which displeased her. Her following novel, The Sundial, was published four years later and concerned a family of wealthy eccentrics who believe they have been chosen to survive the end of the world. She later published two memoirs, Life Among the Savages and Raising Demons.
Jackson's fifth novel, The Haunting of Hill House (1959), follows a group of individuals participating in a paranormal study at a reportedly haunted mansion. The novel, which interpolated supernatural phenomena with psychology, went on to become a critically esteemed example of the haunted house story, and was described by Stephen King as one of the most important horror novels of the twentieth century. Also in 1959, Jackson published the one-act children's musical The Bad Children, based on Hansel and Gretel.
Declining health and death
By the time The Haunting of Hill House had been published, Jackson suffered numerous health problems. She was a heavy smoker, which resulted in chronic asthma, joint pain, exhaustion, and dizziness leading to fainting spells, which were attributed to a heart problem. Near the end of her life, Jackson also saw a psychiatrist for severe anxiety, which had kept her housebound for extended periods of time, a problem worsened by a diagnosis of colitis, which made it physically difficult to travel even short distances from her home. To ease her anxiety and agoraphobia, the doctor prescribed barbiturates, which at that time were considered a safe, harmless drug. For many years, she also had periodic prescriptions for amphetamines for weight loss, which may have inadvertently aggravated her anxiety, leading to a cycle of prescription drug abuse using the two medications to counteract each other's effects. Any of these factors, or a combination of all of them, may have contributed to her declining health. Jackson confided to friends that she felt patronized in her role as a "faculty wife", and ostracized by the townspeople of North Bennington. Her dislike of this situation led to her increasing abuse of alcohol in addition to tranquilizers and amphetamines.
Despite her failing health, Jackson continued to write and publish several works in the 1960s, including her final novel, We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962), a Gothic mystery novel. It was named by Time magazine as one of the "Ten Best Novels" of 1962. The following year, she published Nine Magic Wishes, an illustrated children's novel about a child who encounters a magician who grants him numerous enchanting wishes. The psychological aspects of her illness responded well to therapy, and by 1964 she began to resume normal activities, including a round of speaking engagements at writers' conferences, as well as planning a new novel titled Come Along with Me, which was to be a major departure from the style and subject matter of her previous works.
In 1965, Jackson died in her sleep at her home in North Bennington, at the age of 48. Her death was attributed to a coronary occlusion due to arteriosclerosis or cardiac arrest. She was cremated, as was her wish.
In 1968, Jackson's husband released a posthumous volume of her work, Come Along with Me, containing her unfinished last novel, as well as 14 previously uncollected short stories (among them "Louisa, Please Come Home") and three lectures she gave at colleges or writers' conferences in her last years.
In 1996, a crate of unpublished stories was found in a barn behind Jackson's house. A selection of those stories, along with previously uncollected stories from various magazines, were published in the 1996 volume Just an Ordinary Day. The title was taken from one of her stories for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, "One Ordinary Day, with Peanuts".
Jackson's papers are available in the Library of Congress. In its August 5, 2013, issue The New Yorker published "Paranoia", which the magazine said was discovered at the library. Let Me Tell You, a collection of stories and essays by Jackson (mostly unpublished) was released in 2015.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Monday, October 31, 2022. On Halloween, the snapshot is a plethora of treasures, a grab bag of them.
Starting with Eric London (WSWS):
The decision by the entire congressional slate of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) members and DSA-backed representatives to rescind a letter to Joe Biden calling for peace talks with Russia increases the likelihood of direct conflict between the US and Russia and raises the risk of nuclear war.
The DSA’s endorsement of US imperialism’s war against Russia in Ukraine is not a break with the DSA’s history. On the contrary, it is the latest (and most dangerous) iteration of the organization’s pro-imperialist political essence.
Less than 24 hours after 30 of its members published the letter to Biden last Monday, the House Progressive Caucus issued a statement not only rescinding the letter, but calling for prosecuting the war “until Ukrainian victory.” A week has passed the letter signed by DSA members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Cori Bush (D-MO) and Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) was withdrawn, and none has made any statement about the cowardly reversal or even tweeted on the subject.
On October 25, the WSWS contacted Ocasio-Cortez’s press office and asked, “Does Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez oppose the decision by the leadership of the Progressive Caucus to withdraw the letter calling for a negotiated settlement to the war in Ukraine? If so, we’d like to give her the chance to say so on the record.” The congresswoman’s office acknowledged receipt of the question but did not give an answer.
DSA-endorsed Ilhan Omar has spoken publicly about the 24-hour reversal, claiming she withdrew her signature from the original letter because of “timing” and because “the letter was a response to intel we were getting” in late June, evidently from the Pentagon and CIA, about the danger of escalation. This explanation is disingenuous, since the danger of nuclear war has only increased, with Biden declaring earlier in October that the world is on the verge of “Armageddon.” In reality, the DSA slate withdrew their signatures because Nancy Pelosi told them to on behalf of Wall Street and the military.
Significantly, Omar responded to questions about her reversal by attacking opponents of war. In a series of tweets, she said those who claim the DSA members are “war mongers” for rescinding their signatures are merely promoters of Russian “internet disinformation.”
Omar re-tweeted a thread by a Huffington Post reporter denouncing “the fringe [for] attempting to suggest… that progressives who support Ukraine—the vast majority, from Bernie to Ilhan & AOC—are war-mongers.” She also pledged to vote for additional military spending for the war, even as the Biden administration does next to nothing to provide support to tens of millions of Americans confronting rising inflation, poverty and the ongoing spread of COVID-19 in their schools and workplaces.
Bernie Sanders, (I-VT), another DSA-backed candidate, was asked about the initial letter calling for negotiations: “I don’t agree with that, and they don’t agree with it apparently,” he said, perhaps not intending the insult.
The call for war until “Ukrainian victory” is indistinguishable from the position of the most extreme elements of the military-intelligence apparatus of which the DSA is a part. In fact, their silence places them to the right of figures like Ro Khanna (D-CA), a member of the Progressive Caucus who represents Silicon Valley, who defended the letter and called for negotiations.
The only semi-official attempt at damage control by a DSA leadership body on the 24-hour reversal was issued by the DSA’s International Committee via its Twitter account on October 28.
If we could, we'd quote it in full. It's riveting and it's an important -- especially when it goes into the historical aspect.
You can also refer to Eric London's Twitter feed.
There's a lot to cover every day so, for the record, we're not interested in the wealthy bisexual who let what he hoped was rough trade into his highly secure home for a tryst only to be attacked. So sorry, let others fret over that story. Yes, it is my neighborhood but, as a neighbor said on Saturday, "We've all told our sons not to go in that home when his wife's not there." Yes, we have and for good reason.
Speaking of rollover boys, Denny Kuccinich. I love how Aaron Mate is never weighed down by facts or reality. Which is how he can take THE GRAYZONE and lie that Denny Kay "led Congressional opposition to the Iraq War." That would be news to so many who lived through that reality. But of course Aaron Mate's War On Women demands that he erase all their efforts and award wishy-washy Denny Kay with a year book credit he never earned.
US House Rep Maxine Waters was the chair of the Out of Iraq Caucus, for example, not Denny. Along with Maxine, Lynn Woolsey and Barbara Lee led on that. Not Denny Kay.
Denny Kay caved on Iraq and did so at the 2004 DNC convention. I know, I was there and got stuck cleaning up his mess. A Denny Kay supporter wailing at how Denny had just betrayed Iraq and I was left to calm her down and explain to her that a Kucinich always caves.
Years later, Dennis would loudly and repeatedly -- and rightly -- say that ObamaCare was not universal care for all and that he would not vote for it. But Barack needed his vote so they took a little planetrip together and 'brave' Denny, when he got off the flight, noted he would now be voting for ObamaCare. On the flight, Barack had told him how they could redistrict Denny out of office. Stupid Denny then went along with Barack only for them to redistrict him out of office.
That's brave Denny Kay, that's the man Aaron pimps today. By the company they keep, please remember, by the company they keep. And also remember that Denny's done nothing in the nearly ten years since being out of Congress . . . except cash those checks from FOX NEWS.
At some point, Aaron Mate might need to explain why he repeatedly ignores women and strips them of their accomplishments. Then again, he's on the faux left and they never have to face much reality, do they?
Like Aaron, Twitter thinks it can get away with a great deal.
Note the second Tweet above.
As we pointed out on Saturday, Twitter is censoring this image. (click on "VIEW TWEET" above if you don't believe me):
Of that photo, they say, "The following media includes potentially sensitive content. Change settings"
And that's the sad world that we live in, that photo is censored.
AFP notes, "A gas tanker exploded in Baghdad on Saturday night killing at least nine people and injuring 13 others, security forces said, adding that it was an accident." KURDISTAN 24 adds, "Prime Minister Mohammad Shia’ Al-Sudani and President Latif Rashid have both asked for an immediate probe into the deadly incident." Why a probe? Maybe they're not sure if it was an accident. NEWS 84 MEDIA states, "Officials said on condition of anonymity that it was unclear at this time whether the explosion was due to a technical fault or a targeted attack. The blast came two days after Iraq’s parliament approved a new cabinet in a long-awaited vote, which was described as a major breakthrough in de-escalating ongoing political tensions in the country."
In other news, Chenar Chalak (RUDAW) reports:
The mother of a former opposition bloc head in the Kurdistan Region
parliament told reporters on Sunday that medical reports have concluded
that her son was “poisoned” and that he is receiving treatment abroad,
in light of repeated remarks from the bloc denying the seriousness of
The New Generation Movement (NGM) last week alerted Kazim Faruq, former head of the bloc, that he must stop accepting his salaries as an MP and “return the money which he has received for the last year and seven months” due to his inactivity.
Faruq’s family responded to the comments of the NGM, telling Rudaw and other media outlets that the reason the MP has not been seen publicly is because he has been receiving treatment in hospitals abroad for several months, without specifying where he is being treated.
“We took him [Faruq] abroad… and they [foreign doctors] told us your son has been poisoned,” Akhtar Ahmad, Faruq’s mother, told reporters in front of her house in Sulaimani on Sunday, noting that the family cannot reveal where the MP is because they can no longer tell “who is an enemy and who is a friend.”
Twitter has several Tweets about this development including:
The family of Kazim Faruq, a member of Kurdistan parliament from New Generation’s ticket, today told reporters that their son has been poisoned.— Karwan Faidhi Dri (@KarwanFaidhiDri) October 30, 2022
The family and some of his colleagues believe that the New Generation may have done it but the party has denied it.
📸: file/Facebook pic.twitter.com/nGQVKkNAhM
Of course, if you go back a month, you'll also find this:
3-Former NG caucus head Kazim Faruq resigned last winter w/o much explanation but appears to have had a medical issue. He had been banned from the grounds of parliament since March 31, 2021 after he threw his shoes at Speaker Rewaz Fayaq during an argument over the session agenda— Winthrop Rodgers (@wrodgers2) September 20, 2022
Meanwhile, THE PEOPLE'S DISPATCH notes The October Revolution:
This October marks the third anniversary of the 2019 popular protests in Iraq. On Tuesday, October 25, a large number of people gathered in the Tahrir square in capital Baghdad and paid homage to the people who were killed in the protests. They raised slogans in support of what has been termed by the protesters as the Tishreen movement.
The countrywide protests in 2019, rooted in the long-term grievances of people against successive governments, went on for months. Before the global COVID-19 outbreak forced them to end, the protests were successful in forcing the then government led by Adil Abdul Mahdi to resign, putting the ruling classes on the defensive and pressing for reforms.
Caretaker prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who came to power in May 2020 after months of uncertainty, had promised to deliver on some of the major demands raised by the protesters, including rebuilding the economy and punishing those guilty for the deaths of over 600 people including protesters and others.
Three years down the line and with a new government on the horizon, none of these promises have been met. This is likely to lead the vast majority of pro-reformers pushing for their demands in the coming days.
Economic and political aspects of the protests
The 2019 protests were one of the largest in Iraq’s history since the 2003 US invasion. Long-term grievances regarding inefficiency of successive administrations and the widely perceived corruption among the ruling establishment were at the center of the public anger. In their slogans, the protesters repeatedly denounced the failure of the system created under the supervision of the US occupation in tackling the issues faced by the people, such as rising poverty, unemployment, and basic services delivery.
At the time of the protests, the official rate of poverty in the country of approximately 40 million people was rising. Even before the pandemic hit in 2020, the poverty rate had risen to above 31%. Oil-rich Iraq witnessed an unprecedented rise in poverty during the COVID-19 outbreak. While the government claimed that the poverty rate was coming down after the pandemic, a large number of Iraqis are still forced to live a life as paupers.
Since oil revenues make up the bulk of Iraq’s federal budget – around 96% – the economy remains vulnerable to market fluctuation.
Iraqi youth, who make up the majority
of the population, were at the center of the 2019 protests. The
unemployment rate among the youth – fresh graduates from the university
and others – was above 40% at the time of the protests.
The majority of Iraqis were forced to live without the basic amenities such as power, sanitation, and health care. Protesters claimed that these failures on the economic front were the result of inefficiency and corruption of the ruling elite. They also pointed to structural reasons such as the system of Muhasasa or sectarian quota based on distribution of political posts for this inefficiency and corruption.
We'll wind down with this from Ms. Magazine: