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98 Top Shirley Jackson Quotes That You Must Bookmark

Famous As: Author
Born On: December 14, 1916
Died On: September 8, 1965
Born In: San Francisco, California, United States
Died At Age: 48

Shirley Jackson was an American writer famous for her short story “The Lottery” and the novel “The Haunting of the Hill House”; which were acclaimed to be the best ghost stories ever. Instigating fear among the readers became the trademark of Shirley. She went on to win the coveted National Book Award and several Best American Short Stories awards in the process. Her work was not autobiographical in nature by any means as she believed that such type of writing only produced bare chronological facts with no pertinent facts. The Shirley Jackson Award was instituted in her honor to award exceptional achievement in English Literature in the horror and suspense genre. Since 2015, North Bennington celebrates June 27 as “Shirley Jackson Day”. Shirley shared her wisdom and thoughts on several things through her writings. We have collected Shirley’s quotes on books, children, dreams, hills, house, moon, morning, summer, writing, stories etc from her writings. Following are some of her most famous quotes .

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

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

Shirley Jackson
A pretty sight, a lady with a book.

A pretty sight, a lady with a book.

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

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

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

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

Shirley Jackson
I delight in what I fear.

I delight in what I fear.

Shirley Jackson
I can't help it when people are frightened,

I can't help it when people are frightened," says Merricat. "I always want to frighten them more.

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

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

Shirley Jackson
Fate intervened. Some of us, that day, she led inexorably through the gates of death. Some of us, innocent and unsuspecting, took, unwillingly, that one last step to oblivion. Some of us took very little sugar.

Fate intervened. Some of us, that day, she led inexorably through the gates of death. Some of us, innocent and unsuspecting, took, unwillingly, that one last step to oblivion. Some of us took very little sugar.

Shirley Jackson
So long as you write it away regularly nothing can really hurt you.

So long as you write it away regularly nothing can really hurt you.

Shirley Jackson
All cat stories start with this statement:

All cat stories start with this statement: "My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...

Shirley Jackson
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.

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.

Shirley Jackson
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.

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.

Shirley Jackson
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.

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.

Shirley Jackson
Fear,

Fear," the doctor said, "is the relinquishment of logic, the willing relinquishing of reasonable patterns. We yield to it or we fight it, but we cannot meet it halfway.

Shirley Jackson
You will be wondering about that sugar bowl, I imagine, is it still in use? You are wondering, has it been cleaned? You may very well ask, was it thoroughly washed?

You will be wondering about that sugar bowl, I imagine, is it still in use? You are wondering, has it been cleaned? You may very well ask, was it thoroughly washed?

Shirley Jackson
There had not been this many words sounded in our house for a long time, and it was going to take a while to clean them out.

There had not been this many words sounded in our house for a long time, and it was going to take a while to clean them out.

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

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

Shirley Jackson
I shall weave a suit of leaves. At once. With acorns for buttons.

I shall weave a suit of leaves. At once. With acorns for buttons.

Shirley Jackson
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.

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.

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

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

Shirley Jackson
When shall we live if not now?

When shall we live if not now?

Shirley Jackson
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.

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.

Shirley Jackson
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.

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.

Shirley Jackson
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.

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.

Shirley Jackson
I wonder if I could eat a child if I had the chance.'
'I doubt if I could cook one,' said Constance.

I wonder if I could eat a child if I had the chance.' 'I doubt if I could cook one,' said Constance.

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

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

Shirley Jackson
No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream.

No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream.

Shirley Jackson
God! Whose hand was I holding?

God! Whose hand was I holding?

Shirley Jackson
No, the menace of the supernatural is that it attacks where modern minds are weakest, where we have abandoned our protective armor of superstition and have no substitute defense.

No, the menace of the supernatural is that it attacks where modern minds are weakest, where we have abandoned our protective armor of superstition and have no substitute defense.

Shirley Jackson
Oh Constance, we are so happy.

Oh Constance, we are so happy.

Shirley Jackson
Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones.

Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones.

Shirley Jackson
In the country of the story the writer is king.

In the country of the story the writer is king.

Shirley Jackson
Why do people want to talk to each other? I mean, what are the things people always want to find out about other people?

Why do people want to talk to each other? I mean, what are the things people always want to find out about other people?

Shirley Jackson
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.

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.

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

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

Shirley Jackson
Materializations are often best produced in rooms where there are books. I cannot think of any time when materialization was in any way hampered by the presence of books.

Materializations are often best produced in rooms where there are books. I cannot think of any time when materialization was in any way hampered by the presence of books.

Shirley Jackson
I would have to find something else to bury here and I wished it could be Charles.

I would have to find something else to bury here and I wished it could be Charles.

Shirley Jackson
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, 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

Shirley Jackson
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.

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.

Shirley Jackson
Today my winged horse is coming and I am carrying you off to the moon and on the moon we will eat rose petals.

Today my winged horse is coming and I am carrying you off to the moon and on the moon we will eat rose petals.

Shirley Jackson
It watches,

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

Shirley Jackson
Wear your boots if you wander today

Wear your boots if you wander today

Shirley Jackson
Merricat, said Connie, would you like to go to sleep? Down in the boneyard ten feet deep!

Merricat, said Connie, would you like to go to sleep? Down in the boneyard ten feet deep!

Shirley Jackson
He is altogether selfish, she thought in some surprise, the only man I have ever sat and talked to alone, and I am impatient; he is simply not very interesting.

He is altogether selfish, she thought in some surprise, the only man I have ever sat and talked to alone, and I am impatient; he is simply not very interesting.

Shirley Jackson
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.

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.

Shirley Jackson
When Jim Donell thought of something to say he said it as often and in as many ways as possible, perhaps because he had very few ideas and had to wring each one dry.

When Jim Donell thought of something to say he said it as often and in as many ways as possible, perhaps because he had very few ideas and had to wring each one dry.

Shirley Jackson
You never know what you are going to want until you see it clearly.

You never know what you are going to want until you see it clearly.

Shirley Jackson
I looked at the clock with the faint unconscious hope common to all mothers that time will somehow have passed magically away and the next time you look it will be bedtime.

I looked at the clock with the faint unconscious hope common to all mothers that time will somehow have passed magically away and the next time you look it will be bedtime.

Shirley Jackson
...you’d think my own face would know me...

...you’d think my own face would know me...

Shirley Jackson
Everything that makes the world like it is now will be gone. We'll have new rules and new ways of living. Maybe there'll be a law not to live in houses, so then no one can hide from anyone else, you see.

Everything that makes the world like it is now will be gone. We'll have new rules and new ways of living. Maybe there'll be a law not to live in houses, so then no one can hide from anyone else, you see.

Shirley Jackson
No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, but some, to dream.

No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, but some, to dream.

Shirley Jackson
Merricat, said Connie, would you like a cup of tea?
Oh no, said Merricat, you’ll poison me.
Merricat, said Connie, would you like to go to sleep?
Down in the boneyard ten feet deep!

Merricat, said Connie, would you like a cup of tea? Oh no, said Merricat, you’ll poison me. Merricat, said Connie, would you like to go to sleep? Down in the boneyard ten feet deep!

Shirley Jackson
Elizabeth, Beth, Betsy, and Bess, they all went together to find a bird's nest...

Elizabeth, Beth, Betsy, and Bess, they all went together to find a bird's nest...

Shirley Jackson
Upstairs Margaret said abruptly, 'I suppose it starts to happen first in the suburbs,' and when Brad said, 'What starts to happen?' she said hysterically, 'People starting to come apart.

Upstairs Margaret said abruptly, 'I suppose it starts to happen first in the suburbs,' and when Brad said, 'What starts to happen?' she said hysterically, 'People starting to come apart.

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

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

Shirley Jackson
What are you reading, my dear? A pretty sight, a lady with a book.

What are you reading, my dear? A pretty sight, a lady with a book.

Shirley Jackson
Sister's gone to school,

Sister's gone to school," I said to Sally. "Ah," said Sally. "And will she come home again?

Shirley Jackson
When we had neatened the upstairs rooms we came downstairs together, carrying our dustcloths and the broom and dustpan and mop like a pair of witches walking home.

When we had neatened the upstairs rooms we came downstairs together, carrying our dustcloths and the broom and dustpan and mop like a pair of witches walking home.

Shirley Jackson
My dear, how can I make you perceive that there is no danger where there is nothing but love and understanding?

My dear, how can I make you perceive that there is no danger where there is nothing but love and understanding?

Shirley Jackson
Fear and guilt are sisters;

Fear and guilt are sisters;

Shirley Jackson
We started out making men in about the state of mind which I suppose created them in the first place -- we had run out of kinds of women, and had to think of something else.

We started out making men in about the state of mind which I suppose created them in the first place -- we had run out of kinds of women, and had to think of something else.

Shirley Jackson
People,” the doctor said sadly, “are always so anxious to get things out into the open where they can put a name to them, even a meaningless name, so long as it has something of a scientific ring.

People,” the doctor said sadly, “are always so anxious to get things out into the open where they can put a name to them, even a meaningless name, so long as it has something of a scientific ring.

Shirley Jackson
Everything is worse...if you think something is looking at you.

Everything is worse...if you think something is looking at you.

Shirley Jackson
I suppose the mothers of most twelve-year-old boys live with the uneasy conviction that their sons are embarked upon a secret life of crime.

I suppose the mothers of most twelve-year-old boys live with the uneasy conviction that their sons are embarked upon a secret life of crime.

Shirley Jackson
People who are all alone have every right to be friends with one another.

(

People who are all alone have every right to be friends with one another. ("The Honeymoon Of Mrs. Smith" - Version 1)

Shirley Jackson
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....

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....

Shirley Jackson
I decided that I would choose three powerful words, words of strong protection, and so long as these great words were never spoken aloud no change would come.

I decided that I would choose three powerful words, words of strong protection, and so long as these great words were never spoken aloud no change would come.

Shirley Jackson
I disliked having a fork pointed at me and I disliked the sound of the voice never stopping; I wished he would put food on the fork and put it into his mouth and strangle himself.

I disliked having a fork pointed at me and I disliked the sound of the voice never stopping; I wished he would put food on the fork and put it into his mouth and strangle himself.

Shirley Jackson
The great art of life is sensation, to feel that we exist, even in pain,” said Lord Byron,

The great art of life is sensation, to feel that we exist, even in pain,” said Lord Byron,

Shirley Jackson
Fear is the relinquishment of logic, the willing relinquishing of reasonable patterns. We yield to it or we fight it, but we cannot meet it halfway,

Fear is the relinquishment of logic, the willing relinquishing of reasonable patterns. We yield to it or we fight it, but we cannot meet it halfway,

Shirley Jackson
Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more.

Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more.

Shirley Jackson
Duty and conscience were, for Theodora, attributes which belonged properly to Girl Scouts.

Duty and conscience were, for Theodora, attributes which belonged properly to Girl Scouts.

Shirley Jackson
Say Morg--you mind if I use the rest of your bath salts? There's only a little left.

Say Morg--you mind if I use the rest of your bath salts? There's only a little left.

Shirley Jackson
I clear breakfast at ten o'clock. I set on lunch at one. Dinner I set on at six. It's ten o'clock.

I clear breakfast at ten o'clock. I set on lunch at one. Dinner I set on at six. It's ten o'clock.

Shirley Jackson
When they were silent for a moment the quiet weight of the house pressed down from all around them.

When they were silent for a moment the quiet weight of the house pressed down from all around them.

Shirley Jackson
...remember the metallic sound and taste of all of it. And the outrage.

...remember the metallic sound and taste of all of it. And the outrage.

Shirley Jackson
It was as though the people needed the ugliness of the village, and fed on it. The houses and the stores seemed to have been set up in contemptuous haste to provide shelter for the drab and the unpleasant.

It was as though the people needed the ugliness of the village, and fed on it. The houses and the stores seemed to have been set up in contemptuous haste to provide shelter for the drab and the unpleasant.

Shirley Jackson
I loathe writing autobiographical material because if it's dull no-one should have to read it anyway, and if it's interesting I should be using it for a story.

I loathe writing autobiographical material because if it's dull no-one should have to read it anyway, and if it's interesting I should be using it for a story.

Shirley Jackson
It is not possible, I frequently think, to walk down the street as fast as you can and kick yourself at the same time.

It is not possible, I frequently think, to walk down the street as fast as you can and kick yourself at the same time.

Shirley Jackson
I assume then, that you have no real faith in the fondness any of the rest of us may feel for you?'
'None,' said Mrs. Halloran.

I assume then, that you have no real faith in the fondness any of the rest of us may feel for you?' 'None,' said Mrs. Halloran.

Shirley Jackson
She brought herself away from the disagreeably clinging thought by her usual method - imagining the sweet sharp sensation of being burned alive.

She brought herself away from the disagreeably clinging thought by her usual method - imagining the sweet sharp sensation of being burned alive.

Shirley Jackson
He was scrupulous about the use of his title because, his investigations being so utterly unscientific, he hoped to borrow an air of respectability, even scholarly authority, from his education.

He was scrupulous about the use of his title because, his investigations being so utterly unscientific, he hoped to borrow an air of respectability, even scholarly authority, from his education.

Shirley Jackson
Journeys end in lovers meeting

Journeys end in lovers meeting

Shirley Jackson
I would not forget my magic words; they were MELODY GLOUCESTER PEGASUS, but I refused to let them into my mind.

I would not forget my magic words; they were MELODY GLOUCESTER PEGASUS, but I refused to let them into my mind.

Shirley Jackson
I am going to put death in all their food and watch them die.

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

Shirley Jackson
In delay there lies no plenty.

In delay there lies no plenty.

Shirley Jackson
The least Charles could have done,' Constance said, considering seriously, 'was shoot himself through the head in the driveway.

The least Charles could have done,' Constance said, considering seriously, 'was shoot himself through the head in the driveway.

Shirley Jackson
To learn what we fear is to learn who we are. Horror defies our boundaries and illuminates our souls.

To learn what we fear is to learn who we are. Horror defies our boundaries and illuminates our souls.

Shirley Jackson
Bow all your heads to our adored Mary Katherine.

Bow all your heads to our adored Mary Katherine.

Shirley Jackson
I shall commence, I think, with a slight exaggeration and go on from there into an outright lie.

I shall commence, I think, with a slight exaggeration and go on from there into an outright lie.

Shirley Jackson
Well, she asked, how do you gentlemen like living in a haunted house?
It's perfectly fine, Luke said, perfectly fine. It gives me an excuse to have a drink in the middle of the night.

Well, she asked, how do you gentlemen like living in a haunted house? It's perfectly fine, Luke said, perfectly fine. It gives me an excuse to have a drink in the middle of the night.

Shirley Jackson
The house was vile. She shivered and thought, the words coming freely into her mind, Hill House is vile, it is diseased; get away from here at once.

The house was vile. She shivered and thought, the words coming freely into her mind, Hill House is vile, it is diseased; get away from here at once.

Shirley Jackson
I hated them anyway, and wondered why it had been worth while creating them in the first place.

I hated them anyway, and wondered why it had been worth while creating them in the first place.

Shirley Jackson
I live a mad, abandoned life, draped in a shawl and going from garret to garret.

I live a mad, abandoned life, draped in a shawl and going from garret to garret.

Shirley Jackson
We are all measured, good or evil, by the wrong we do to others;

We are all measured, good or evil, by the wrong we do to others;

Shirley Jackson
In the darkness their feet felt that they were going downhill, and each privately and perversely accused the other of taking, deliberately, a path they had followed together once before in happiness.

In the darkness their feet felt that they were going downhill, and each privately and perversely accused the other of taking, deliberately, a path they had followed together once before in happiness.

Shirley Jackson
Good morning, Jonas. You are a furred lead, I think.

Good morning, Jonas. You are a furred lead, I think.

Shirley Jackson
We started out making men in about the state of mind which I suppose created them in the first place—we had run out of kinds of women, and had to think of something else.

We started out making men in about the state of mind which I suppose created them in the first place—we had run out of kinds of women, and had to think of something else.

Shirley Jackson