I never was a person who wanted a handout. I was a cafeteria worker. I'm not too proud to ask the Best Western manager to give me a job. I have cleaned homes.

— Shirley Jackson

The most superior Shirley Jackson quotes that will add value to your life

No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality.

65

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 no pertinent facts.

52

I delight in what I fear.

29

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.

26

The sight of one's own heart is degrading;

people are not meant to look inward - that's why they've been given bodies, to hide their souls.

21

Wear your boots if you wander today

18

It has long been my belief that in times of great stress, such as a 4-day vacation, the thin veneer of family wears off almost at once, and we are revealed in our true personalities.

14

On the moon we wore feathers in our hair, and rubies on our hands. On the moon we had gold spoons.

13

Now, I have nothing against the public school system as it is presently organized, once you allow the humor of its basic assumption about how it is possible to teach things to children.

12

I was pretending that I did not speak their language;

on the moon we spoke a soft, liquid tongue, and sang in the starlight, looking down on the dead dried world.

8

I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had.

8

February, when the days of winter seem endless and no amount of wistful recollecting can bring back any air of summer.

5

About Shirley Jackson

Quotes 73 sayings
Profession Author
Birthday October 16

We moved together very slowly toward the house, trying to understand its ugliness and ruin and shame.

5

Life Among the Savages is a disrespectful memoir of my children.

4

I was wondering about my eyes; one of my eyes--the left--saw everything golden and yellow and orange, and the other eye saw shades of blue and grey and green; perhaps one eye was for daylight and the other was for night. If everyone in the world saw different colors from different eyes there might be a great many new colors still to be invented.

3

The first book is the book you have to write to get back at your parents;

the book you always had in you. Once you get that out of your way, you can start writing books.

3

It was one of those winter days that suddenly dream of spring, when the sky is blue and soft and clear, and the wind has dropped its voice and whispers instead of screaming, and the sun is out and the trees look surprised, and over everything there is the faintest, palest tint of green.

1

Am I walking toward something I should be running away from?

0

We were going to the long field which today looked like an ocean, although I had never seen an ocean; the grass was moving in the breeze and the cloud shadows passed back and forth and the trees in the distance moved.

0

Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.

0

I have always loved to use fear, to take it and comprehend it and make it work and consolidate a situation where I was afraid and take it whole and work from there.

0

Bridge is a game for the undivided intellect.

0

Hill House, she thought, You're as hard to get into as heaven.

0

It is only with the eyes open that a corporeal form returns, and assembles itself firmly around the hard core of sight.

0

Don't do it, Eleanor told the little girl;

insist on your cup of stars; once they have trapped you into being like everyone else you will never see your cup of stars again; don't do it; and the little girl glanced at her, and smiled a little subtle, dimpling, wholly comprehending smile, and shook her head stubbornly at the glass. Brave girl, Eleanor thought; wise, brave girl.

0

Journeys end in lovers meeting; I have spent an all but sleepless night, I have told lies and made a fool of myself, and the very air tastes like wine. I have been frightened half out of my foolish wits, but I have somehow earned this joy; I have been waiting for it for so long.

0

All our land was enriched with my treasures buried in it, thickly inhabited just below the surface with my marbles and my teeth and my colored stones, all perhaps turned to jewels by now, held together under the ground in a powerful taut web which never loosened, but held fast to guard us.

0

For plain and fancy worrying, give me a new mother every time.

0

She walked quickly around her one-room apartment.

After more than four years in this one home she knew all its possibilities, how it could put on a sham appearance of warmth and welcome when she needed a place to hide in, how it stood over her in the night when she woke suddenly, how it could relax itself into a disagreeable unmade, badly-put-together state, mornings like this, anxious to drive her out and go back to sleep.

0

Poor strangers, they have so much to be afraid of.

0

I'm going to put death in all their food and watch them die.

0

We eat the year away. We eat the spring and the summer and the fall. We wait for something to grow and then we eat it.

0

On the moon we have everything. Lettuce, and pumpkin pie and Amanita phalloides. We have cat-furred plants and horses dancing with their wings. All the locks are solid and tight, and there are no ghosts.

0

I am like a small creature swallowed whole by a monster, she thought, and the monster feels my tiny little movements inside.

0

Gossip says she hanged herself from the turret on the tower, but when you have a house like Hill House with a tower and a turret, gossip would hardly allow you to hang yourself anywhere else.

0

In ten years I will be a beautiful charming lovely lady writer without any husband or children but lots of lovers and everyone will read the books I write and want to marry me but I will never marry any of them. I will have lots of money and jewels too.

0

Let him be wise, or let me be blind; don't let me, she hoped concretely, don't let me know too surely what he thinks of me.

0

A pretty sight, a lady with a book.

0

All I could think of when I got a look at the place from the outside was what fun it would be to stand out there and watch it burn down.

0

Dad and I did not care at all for your story in The New Yorker … [I]t does seem, dear, that this gloomy kind of story is what all you young people think about these days. Why don't you write something to cheer people up?

0

The number of people who expected Mrs. Hutchinson to win a Bendix washer would amaze you.

0

It watches," he added suddenly. "The house. It watches every move you make.

0

Let my reader who is puzzled by my awkward explanations close his eyes for no more than two minutes, and see if he does not find himself suddenly not a compact human being at all, but only a consciousness on a sea of sound and touch . . .

0

Can't you make them stop?' I asked her that day, wondering if there was anything in this woman I could speak to, if she had ever run joyfully over grass, or had watched flowers, or known delight or love.

0

I remember that I stood on the library steps holding my books and looking for a minute at the soft hinted green in the branches against the sky and wishing, as I always did, that I could walk home across the sky instead of through the village.

0

Certainly there are spots which inevitably attach to themselves an atmosphere of holiness and goodness; it might not then be too fanciful to say that some houses are born bad.

0

It was a house without kindness, never meant to be lived in, not a fit place for people or for love or for hope. Exorcism cannot alter the countenance of a house ; Hill House would stay as it was until it was destroyed.

0

In the country of the story the writer is king.

0

Oh Constance, we are so happy.

0
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