The Haunting of Hill House

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  • Topic: Stephen King, Harold Bloom, Cengage Learning
  • Pages : 6 (1834 words )
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  • Published : March 29, 2012
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The Haunting of Hill House:|
The Union of Eleanor Vance and Hill House|
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Shirley Jackson's 1959 novel "The Haunting of Hill House" has been acclaimed by many to be one of the most complex horror novels ever written. Perhaps the biggest complexity within the plot is the relationship between the character Eleanor Vance and the haunted structure of Hill House. The two wayward souls meet when Eleanor agrees to participate in a group that is observing the affects of the supernatural at Hill House. As their stay progresses, it becomes clear that the union of Eleanor and the house is inevitable. The character of Eleanor Vance and Hill House become one entity because of Eleanor’s life prior to her stay at Hill House, her time at Hill House and the signs she receives while she is there, and her eventual mental breakdown and suicide on the grounds. Outline:

I. Eleanor's life before Hill House
       A. How she was treated
                   1. Relationship with mother- she takes care of her mother when she is sick and dying, despite the fact that Eleanor loathes her and longs to be free of her, though her feelings for her mother vary                    2. Science behind how her relationships affect her mental state        B. Her mental state

                   1. Low self-worth- due to lack of purpose in life, as well as lack of a true mother figure II. Signs given to Eleanor while she stays at Hill House
       A. Literal                
                   1. Her named scrawled in messages across the walls- "HELP ELEANOR COME HOME"        B. Figurative
                   1. Knocking sounds- Hill House asking to be invited into Eleanor                    2. House as her "mother"- upon her arrival she feels she is squirming inside the house, a metaphor for a baby in the mother's womb                    3. "Journeys end in lovers meeting"- Eleanor and Hill House are "lovers" and Eleanor's "journey" i.e. life ended when the two met III. Eleanor's mental breakdown and suicide

       A. Break down
                   1. Becomes paranoid and nervous constantly                    2. Lives in her own head- starts having whole conversations between people just in her head; schizophrenia        B. Car crash suicide

                   1. Refuses to leave- is asked to leave for her own safety but feels too attached to the house to leave it                    2. By dying on the grounds she will effectively be with the house forever Eleanor's early life, her stay at Hill House, and her mental breakdown and suicide all led to the fusion of Eleanor and Hill House into one. The development of Eleanor Vance and Hill House as multifaceted beings shaped the complexity of the novel. Without the expert character development exhibited by Shirley Jackson, a complexity such as this would have been unattainable.

Shirley Jackson's 1959 novel "The Haunting of Hill House" has been acclaimed by many to be one of the most complex horror novels ever written. Perhaps the biggest complexity within the plot is the relationship between the character Eleanor Vance and the haunted structure of Hill House. The two wayward souls meet when Eleanor agrees to participate in a group that is observing the affects of the supernatural at Hill House. As their stay progresses, it becomes clear that the union of Eleanor and the house is inevitable. The character of Eleanor Vance and Hill House become one entity because of Eleanor’s life prior to her stay at Hill House, her time at Hill House and the signs she receives while she is there, and her eventual mental breakdown and suicide on the grounds.

The events throughout Eleanor’s life, as well as the way she is treated, both pave the way for her mental breakdown and her subsequent union with Hill House. Most of the issues that set Eleanor up for mental failure stem from the backwards relationship she had with her mother. Eleanor has spent a large majority of her life caring...
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