"Shirley Jackson" Shirley Jackson was born December 14, 1919 in San Francisco, California. Her mother was a perfectionist who forced her ideals upon young Shirley. Behind her mother's back, however, Shirley Jackson rebelled. She was very much into drugs, alcohol, with craft, and cigarettes. In 1934, she enrolled into the University of Rochester.
In 1937, she transferred to Syracuse University. Between the time she transferred in 1937 until the time she graduated in 1939, fifteen of her literary works were published in a campus magazine. In 1940, she married literary critic, Stanley Edgar Hyman, with whom she had four children. The couple settled in North Bennington in 1945. In many of her literary works, Jackson used the good and evil aspects of human nature, and also the evils which are hidden in daily life. There is a devil and an angel inside each and every human being.
Shirley Jackson used this aspect of human nature to her advantage, and wrote several brilliant short stories and novels that share these humanistic qualities. "Charles" is one example of this quality. "Charles tells the story of a young boy named 'Laurie' who has just entered his first year of school. In front of his parents, he is a well behaved little boy.
He comes home telling stories about a rotten little boy in his class named 'Charles.' Charles curses the teacher and is mean to the other children. Laurie's parents are concerned about what their child is learning in school. On parent-teacher conference night, Laurie's mother expresses her concern about Charles. It is then that she learns that Laurie was really the one causing the trouble, and that there is no 'Charles.' This story is also a reflection upon Shirley's childhood. Under the watchful eyes of a perfectionist mother, she was well-behaved However, behind her mother's back, she smoked, drank, overate, and dabbled in witchcraft.
Many of her stories contain examples of the mundane evils hidden in every day life. She wrote of prejudice, neurosis, and identity. Jackson's specialty was psychology and society; people who were disturbed, dispossessed, misunderstood. She wrote of ordinary people who participated absently in monstrous acts. One example of this quality is "The Lottery." In "The Lottery," Jackson describes a small, friendly town. The townspeople gather annually for a lottery.
However, throughout the story, the reader is given hints of something unusual going on. In the end, the "winner" of the lottery is stoned to death by all of the townspeople. Some people say that Shirley Jackson went home and wrote "The Lottery" after being pelted with stones by some of the people in her own town. Some demons in Shriley's life included smoking too much, eating too much, abusing perscription drugs, and dabbling in both white and black magic. She was very much ridiculed by the other residents of North Bennington. Despite these inner demons, she was still a good wife, a good mother, and an excellent writer..