Daily Archives for: May 4th, 2021

Shirley Jackson: Mother of the Fictional and Real-Life Teen

This look at the depiction of adolescent and teen girls in the fiction and nonfiction of American author Shirley Jackson is excerpted from Girls in Bloom: Coming of Age in the Mid-20th Century Woman’s Novel by Francis Booth, reprinted by permission.

In the works of Shirley Jackson (1916 – 1965), there is an absence of sex of any kind, other than the veiled implication that Natalie Waite in Hangsaman has had a sexual experience that she does not remember, and which is not described in the novel.

One reason for this lack of sex among her teenage protagonists might be that Jackson had daughters of her own who might read her work. She did know a lot about the adolescent girl; she wrote several of them into her novels and stories, chief among them, the aforementioned Natalie Waite; Harriet Merriam (The Road Through the Wall), and Merricat Blackwood (We Have Always Lived in the Castle). Read More→


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