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Shirley Jackson

Shirley Jackson was born on December 14, 1919 to Leslie and Geraldine Jackson. Her surroundings were comfortableand friendly. Two years after Shirley was born, her family with her newborn brother moved from San Francisco toBurlingame, California, about thirty miles away. "According to her mother, Shirley began to compose verse almost assoon as she could write it" (Friedman, 18). As a child, Shirley was interested in sports and literature. In 1930, a yearbefore she attended Burlingame High School, Shirley began writing poetry and short stories. Jackson enrolled in theliberal arts program at the University of Rochester in 1934. But after periods of unhappiness and questioning the loyaltyof her friends, she withdrew from the university. For the next year Shirley worked night and day on her writing. Indoing so she established work habits, which she maintained for the rest of her life. After a year of becomingconscientious and disciplined writer, Jackson thought she better return to college for more schooling. In 1937, sheentered Syracuse University. At first she was in the School of Journalism, but then she decided to transfer to the Englishdepartment. For the next two years, while at Syracuse, Shirley published, fifteen pieces in campus magazines andbecame fiction editor of "The Syracusan", a campus humor magazine. When her position as fiction editor waseliminated, she and fellow classmate Stanley Edgar Hyman began to plan a magazine of literary quality, one that theEnglish Club finally agreed to sponsor. (Friedman, 21) In 1939, the first edition of "The Spectre" was published.Although the magazine became popular, the English department didn't like the biting editorials and critical essays. Butinspite of the department's constant watch over the magazine, Leonard Brown, a modern literature teacher, backed thestudents and the publication. Later, Jackson was always to refer to Brown as her mentor; and in 1959 she dedicated hernovel "The Hau...

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