Haunting Of Hill House
The Haunting of Hill House is considered a classic to many people. It has a
certain sense of feeling missing from today’s novels. The Haunting of Hill House
has suspense, horror, a little bit of romance, and an ending that will leave you
thinking for days. Shirley Jackson is well known for her twisted work. At the
beginning of the book, you our introduced to a character that has a major impact
on all of its “guests”. Hill House. “Hill House, not sane, stood
by itself against the hills, holding darkness within.” This is just one of
the chilling sentences from the opening paragraph. The fear begins to set in.
Shortly after, you are introduced to the strong yet cautious Dr. John Montague.
He is a doctor of philosophy and has a new study up his sleeve. He is going to
rent the “haunted” Hill House and document all that goes on. To
accompany him and further the study, are three assistants. After considerable
research, three patients are chosen. Eleanor Vance, Luke Sanderson, and Theodora
(Theo) are the chosen few. You are first brought into the life of Eleanor Vance.
Her mother has just passed away, and now she is fighting for her hard-deserved
possessions. Eleanor has never been accepted. She has always been on her own and
liked it that way. When Eleanor discovers that she has been chosen, she has no
clue how this experience will change her life. Next, we are introduced to
Theodora. Her last name is never revealed which gives her a sense of mystery.
Theo could be considered any man’s dream. She is quite beautiful and has that
certain something. Theo gladly accepts the invitation to Hill House, and nothing
more is said. Luke Sanderson is the future inheritor of Hill House. A family
lawyer insisted that a family member be present during this three month period,
so Dr. Montague gladly chose Luke. Shortly after, Eleanor, Theodora, Luke, Dr.
Montague, and his secretary arrive at Hill House. They are introduced to the
mysterious housekeepers, the Dudleys. Theo and Eleanor quickly form a bond and
explore the home. They discover how elaborate and titanic Hill House is. The
fireplace, walk out veranda, and library are just some of the things that the
girls discover. Everyone loves the house for its beauty and extravagance. Later
on in the evening, Dr. Montague tells the long history of Hill House. It was
owned by Hugh Crain. He had two children, but their mother was killed in a
carriage accident just before she arrived at the house. His second wife died
from a fall, possible suicide. Crain’s third wife died of tuberculosis. Shortly
after, Crain passed away in Europe. His two daughters were left with the house,
but many fights occur over who should get it. The older sister dies, and the
young sister ends up owning it. She commits suicide, and Hill House is left to
the Sandersons. The first night was fine, but many things begin to happen. The
following night, Theodora and Eleanor have a terrifying encounter. While
sleeping, Eleanor hears a pounding sound. She wakes up. The sound continues, so
she rushes to Theodora’s room. The room becomes ice cold, and the pounding
becomes louder. After an intense amount of time, Dr. Montague and Luke arrive.
Another thing is discovered by the guests. Outside of the nursery, a cold spot
occurs. Nothing can be explained about the cold feeling, but it occurs every
time they walk passed it. Over time, Eleanor sees and feels the presence of a
superior “being”. The following quotation comes from the chilling
moment when Eleanor discovers no one is in her room: “God God-whose hand
was I holding?” Over time, Eleanor becomes attached to the house. She feels
like the house is talking to her. On one occasion, “WELCOME HOME
ELEANOR” was written over Theo’s room and clothing. It was written in
blood. Eleanor becomes furious, thinking her fellow spouses wrote the
frightening message. Then again, she feels like the house is speaking to her.
She feels like Hill House is part of her. Later on, this “obsession”
goes one step too far. Towards the end of the book, Mrs. Montague arrives at
Hill House. With her, she brings planchette. Planchette is a form of the ouija
board. With planchette, Mrs. Montague can contact the spirits of the house. In
her planchette sessions, the names Nellie, Nell, and Eleanor are brought up many
times. This feeds the obsession of Eleanor and Hill House. After time, Eleanor
begins to feel as if Hill House was her house. It has almost become a friend.
The paranormal encounters and psychological effects of the house made her
almost, insane. Dr. Montague and the others all agreed that she needed to be
home. It was for her own safety. The morning that Eleanor was scheduled to leave
was like any other. Mrs. Dudley set out their breakfast, and all in all, it
seemed like a normal day. Everyone gave their good-byes, and Theo was especially
sad to see Eleanor go. Eleanor got into her car, but something wasn’t right. Her
mind was telling her that Hill House belonged to her. How dare they tell me to
leave, and what gives them the right to make the rules? Hill House was HER
house. In an act to save her dignity, Eleanor presses the gas. She turns the
wheel and crashes straight into a tree. Her life had ended. After an ending like
this, you begin to think. Was Hill House really haunted? Or was it the psyche of
Eleanor Vance that caused these encounters? All in all, Eleanor was never
accepted, and she finally found someone that accepted her for what she was. That
someone was Hill House. This story became one of my favorites after reading it.
I would recommend this book to any person who has been the outcast.