Kwame Clarke ENG3407 Fall 2020
The Haunting of Hill House
In the Story “The Haunting of Hill house” we follow Doctor John Montague and a group of other carefully selected individuals as they spend a part of the summer at a Hillside Manor that is infamous for being incredibly haunted.As we go through the accounts of everyone staying in this house this story reveals that it embodies many of the gothic elements that we have gone over this semester.In my personal opinion to me some of the most noteworthy of these elements had to be Anthony Vidler’s idea of architectural uncanny and Todorov’s concept of Haunting or as he would have defined it as fantastic as we explore more of the story the house and its inhabitants start to show their true intentions and desires.
The House itself gave off an entire feeling of being uncanny being a small home on a hillside know for being a haunted a great way this was highlighted was in this quote in chapter 2 when the guests first arrived “The four of them stood, for the first time, in the wide, dark entrance hall of Hill House. Around them the house steadied and located them, above them the hills slept watchfully, small eddies of air and sound and movement stirred and waited and whispered, and the center of consciousness was somehow the small space where they stood, four separated people, and looked trustingly at one another” This quote here just set the tone for how the rest of the story will play out.The Uncanny also plays out in this scene were eleanor is exploring the backside of the house and it great detail the architecture is described “Behind the house, seeming almost overhead, the great hills were muted and dull in the rain. Eleanor wandered along the veranda, thinking that she had never before known a house so completely surrounded. Like a very tight belt, she thought; would the house fly apart if the veranda came of!”Here we can see the house described in great detail how its design is so odd and how a house like this was something never seen before and how eleanor sees the landscape surrounding the house as if its choking it.
The story also very greatly explores the theme of haunting with the multiple apparitions and supernatural events that happen inside the house.One scene the shows this perfectly is when Eleanor is with Theodora Eleanor” It sounded, Eleanor thought, like a hollow noise, a hollow bang, as though something were hitting the doors with an iron kettle, or an iron bar, or an iron glove. It pounded regularly for a minute, and then suddenly more softly, and then again in a quick flurry, seeming to be going methodically from door to door at the end of the hall. Distantly she thought she could hear the voices of Luke and the doctor, calling from somewhere below, and she thought,Then they are not up here with us at all , and heard the iron crashing against what must have been a door very close”To me this really stuck out because of the way Eleanor Described it with hearing faint voices of people she knew wasn’t around them the loud noises in the distance and finally how it reached it climaxwith a loudbang on a door in hall causing both of the girls to investigate it.Another scene in the story tat encapsulates the gothic theme of haunting in the story was this scene in chapter 6 “the little gurgling laugh came again, and the rising mad sound of it drowned out the voice, and then suddenly absolute silence. Eleanor took a breath, wondering if she could speak now, and then she heard a little soft cry which broke her heart, a little infinitely sad cry, a little sweet moan of wild sadness. It is a child , she thought with disbelief, a child is crying somewhere, and then, upon that thought, came the wild shrieking voice she had never heard before and yet knew she had heard always in her nightmares. “Go away!” it screamed. “Go away, go away, don’t hurt me,”This was a fantastic way to present the true horror of the situation the sounds of gurgling and the voice fo children crying out in fear shows us the kinds of terrible things that must go on in this house and to its inhabitants.
The haunting of hill house was interesting story that explored many types of gothic elements that clearly are defining factors for its story.The Architecture of the house being so unlike anything else any of the guests have seen and the elaborate way the house is built on the inside makes the setting much more unsettling.The constant hauntings and ghost that appear throughout the story and how they interact with the guests is the most defining factor of the story as these encounters influence the characters and the progression of the story.
Jackson, Shirley. “The Haunting of Hill House”. 1959
“Haunted House.” Wikipedia