As with the last post I posted about We Have Always Lived in the Castle, this is an EXACT copy of what I posted on the RBC discussion thread. And again, there are spoilers as this is from Chapters 4-6 of the novel.
I know I’m almost a whole week late with my post for the second section. But I was busy with moving and getting ready for the move and everything. But never fear, I am now ready to post and have all day tomorrow to read the rest of the book and write another post. It might actually help since this is fresh in my memory.
These chapters introduce us to a new character, Cousin Charles. Now, I don’t know about the rest of you (because I haven’t yet read your posts), but Charles seems to be a sniveling, underhanded man. I mean, the introduction of his entire character is completely random, which makes him seem a little suspicious. It is very clear that Merricat dislikes and distrusts Charles, probably for a good reason. Constance appears to think he can do no wrong. The life Merricat, Constance, and Uncle Julian have had for the past years has worked for them, however bizarre it is. But then along comes Charles, and he tries to convince Constance that she has done wrong by the other two; kept them from what they should have been doing in life. Also, I really dislike the way Charles talks to Merricat through Jonas (the cat). He even practically threatens Merricat by doing this, when he mentions how he “gets even” with people who do him wrong or hurt him. Charles even says that he wonders who will still be at the Blackwood residence in a month: himself or Merricat. This is just scraping the surface, I believe, of his character.
I also saw a new side to Merricat while reading these chapters. Do any of you have a feeling that Merricat is not fully in her right mind? She has not forgotten things, such as Uncle Julian. But all of the talk that she says about “On the moon…” and nailing stuff such as books and watch chains to trees makes me think that she is a little cuckoo. Now, if she wasn’t 18, I might look at this as a childish routine, such as an imaginary friend. But she is old enough that these things don’t appear, at least to me, to be play-acting or anything. And I have a feeling that she is going to do something drastic to get at Cousin Charles. I mean, she did tell him about the poisonous mushrooms and how quickly some of their effects take place and how long it takes to die from them. When I read this part (p.72-73 in my edition), I actually thought that maybe Merricat had somehow smuggled some poisonous mushroom into the dish Charles was eating and only time will tell if he really was poisoned. This sort of leads into my next thought.
I have a feeling, however slight, that Merricat was possibly the poisoner of the family. Constance’s actions after the family died could have been attributed to her covering for her sister. And, in this section, I see quite a bit of devotion/dependence laid on Constance by Merricat. Also, this could account for Merricat’s semi-craziness. She could have gone a little loopy after she realized what she did and this traumatization caused her “loopiness”. I mean, Merricat was 12 when the whole murder happened, so she definitely was old enough to know how to do it and what she was doing. And this could account for why Constance always cooks everything in the house–Merricat can’t be trusted. What are your feelings on my possibly-crazy idea?