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Author: Manuel Barreras

Manuel’s Final Essay

Manuel Angel Barreras

Professor Scanlan

ENG 3407

13 November 2020

The Haunting Of Hill House

Within the novel “The Haunting Of Hill House”, a team of people are recruited by Dr. Mountage to investigate the supernatural forces that take place within the Hill House. In this specific team of people, there is Eleanor, Theodora, Dr. Montague himself, and Luke, the nephew of the current owner of the Hill House. Throughout the story, there were many cases of gothic terms being displayed based on different rooms and structures in the house itself, but also when it comes to the behavior of the characters towards specific events and unsettling moments that cause this. There are many gothic terms that can present themselves in this novel, but I chose to specifically focus on Vidler’s architectural uncanny and Todorov’s uncanny/fantastic.

In the novel, the Hill House makes itself known with its unsettling feeling and gives the character an understanding of the dynamic the house has. In chapter 2, when the characters are getting ready to go to the house, it is very noticeable based on the structure of the house what type of haunting feeling it exudes. According to “The Haunting Of Hill House”, it states “No human eye can isolate the unhappy coincidence of line and place which suggests evil in the face of a house, and yet somehow a maniac juxtaposition, a badly turned angle, some chance meeting of roof and sky, turned Hill House into a place of despair, more frightening because the face of Hill House seemed awake”(Jackson, 1959, Chapter 2, Pg 14). With this specific quotation, it is evident that Vidler’s definition of architectural uncanny is taking place because of the unsettling feeling that the look of Hill House gives, these characters have never been in this house but the outside structure essentially gives a creepy but alive projection based on the frontal structure of the house. In chapter 4, Eleanor is with the group exploring Hill House and they come across the library and experience frigid temperatures. According to “The Haunting Of Hill House”, it states “I can’t go in there,” Eleanor said, surprising herself, but she could not. She backed away, overwhelmed with the cold air of mold and earth which rushed at her. “My mother—” she said, not knowing what she wanted to tell them, and pressed herself against the wall” (Jackson, 1959, Chapter 4, Pg 48). Within this quotation, you are able to see once again Vidler’s architectural uncanny because of how the library itself should be a place of serenity and wisdom in a typical house, but Eleanor becomes overwhelmed by the temperature and the smell of mold in the library to the point that it makes her very uncomfortable and she decides to not enter.

During the group’s stay at the Hill House, it is apparent the type of enigmatic journey it becomes to understand and investigate the house. According to “The Haunting Of Hill House”, it states “It doesn’t seem like an impartial cold,” Eleanor said, awkward because she was not quite sure what she meant. “I felt it as deliberate, as though something wanted to give me an unpleasant shock” (Jackson, 1959, Chapter 4, Pg 57). In direct relation to his quote, Vidler’s architectural uncanny has been demonstrated but also, in a way Todorov’s fantastic could be seen within this specific quotation. When the group reaches the nursery which is also the heart of the mansion, the air in the room feels neglectful and is very cold as well, because it is a nursery, it would be expected to be the most charming and innocent room in the house, but the guests are greeted with a frosty cold that makes the overall experience unpleasant. When it comes to Todorov’s fantastic, Eleanor’s feeling that the temperature in the room was deliberate could show how she might possibly believe there are supernatural forces that bring this neglectful feeling into the room with the wintry temperature. According to “The Haunting Of Hill House”, it states “No.” And Eleanor felt the words stop in her throat; she had seen her name as the doctor read it. It is me, she thought. It is my name standing out there so clearly; I should not be on the walls of this house… “Then why me?” Eleanor said, looking from one of them to another; I am outside, she thought madly, I am the one chosen, and she said quickly, beggingly, “Did I do something to attract attention, more than anyone else?” (Jackson, 1959, Chapter 5, Pgs 69-70). When reading this quotation, it is able to show how Todorov’s fantastic is being demonstrated. In this specific scene, the words “HELP ELEANOR COME HOME” are written on a wall in the house and there is no one to prove that it was anyone in the group to do this, causing Eleanor to believe that supernatural forces of the house have done this to show a sign, possibly to show that she is becoming apart of the Hill House soon enough or something else, either way, this supernatural phenomenon leads Eleanor to believe in what would be considered impossible.

The novel, The Haunting Of Hill House, is rich in many gothic concepts and accurately displays numerous gothic terms that were discussed throughout the course of this semester. My specific focus was on Vidler’s architectural uncanny and Todorov’s uncanny/fantastic to give the reader a better understanding of how specific events and character behavior could demonstrate the academic language used within the gothic period. In conclusion, The Haunting Of Hill House shows a deep cognizance of how to precisely demonstrate the lore and overall feeling of the gothic genre itself.



Jackson, Shirley,“The Haunting Of Hill House”, 1959

Manuel’s Gothic Space

This is the view of my apartment basement from my living room
This is the view of all the trash cans and the little lounge area that the super made for outdoor activites
This is the entrance to the connected system of basements to other buildings that the landlord owns

For my gothic space I picked the basement to my building. The reason as to why I refer to this as our basement is because there is no structure built inside the building that would be considered our basement, now the reason as to why I chose this specific place as my gothic space would be because I feel as if it has a great representation of Todorov’s uncanny especially considering the fact that this specific place is such a simple place where the porter sorts the garbage put there by the tenants and acts as a lounge area of sorts for the super that works there everyday, but the uncertainty of anything supernatural or horror related occuring along with the frightening darkness during the night puts you in a constant state of panic affects a person. It’s just very interesting how a place that’s meant to be so harmless and help out the tenants, myself included, could be such a fearful place to be because of how unaware what could be lurking in any corner or dark spot. The story that my gothic space would remind me of would be The Black Cat by Edgar Allen Poe, specifically at the ending when the police decide to search the house and are completely unaware of the dead body hiding within the walls of the creepy house, this basement does serve one purpose but could so many secrets to it that all of the tenants could be unaware of, secrets derived from ill intent or anything in general, but we would never know since we are not allowed to roam around (its off limits since it is for use by the landlord and any workers that service the surrounding buildings owned by the landlord) and understand it in depth ourselves.

Manuel’s Weekly Goth Post

In this specific clip from The Exorcist, it shows numerous ways on how the terms “terror and horror” are presented. The reasoning for this movie being my choice is because it is one of my favorite movies of all time and has a very well executed approach at portraying terror and horror through speaking obscenities, demonic possession, supernatural sights (the bed shaking and floating from the force of the demonic presence possessing the child), and deep toned noises that are not naturally possible from a child but would be conisdered normal from a supernatural entity considered a demon. These specific scenes, in my opinion, portray gothic elements very well and also when taken into consideration of the facial expressions and body language of the actors and the actress.

Manuel Barreras – Midterm Essay

Manuel Angel Barreras

Gothic Literature 3407

The Spirit Of Perverseness Within The Gothic Period

Throughout the time period of this semester, There have been many encounters of different gothic texts and ideas that represent different underlying meanings and concepts. Some of these concepts that have been discussed throughout the time spent during the semester are the spirit of perverseness, gothic irony, uncanny, etc. When it comes to talking specifically about the spirit of perverseness, I’d like to focus on stories that compare the characters in the way that they use the spirit of perverseness for what wouldn’t be considered “normal”. In “The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and “The Black Cat”, The comparison of Dr. Jekyll and the narrator of The Black Cat can show in what ways the use of the spirit of perverseness comes to them as an advantage, yet they end up with a result that seems to be a disadvantage instead. 

Within the story of The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,  the character Dr. Jekyll essentially created the character, Mr. Hyde. From a readers point of view, This can be confusing, but the reasoning behind Mr. Hyde is actually to portray a dark side of Dr. Jekyll, Dr. Jekyll essentially used Mr. Hyde as his scapegoat into a different perspective on the world and what it is like to live with dark thoughts and motives, which realistically means that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are the same boy, but are two different people within one host. Because of this decision that Dr. Jekyll decides to take for himself, he then, in turn, becomes very sick as Mr. Hyde is becoming very uncontrollable within Dr. Jekyll. According to, “The Strange Case Of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde”, it states “The doctor seemed seized with a qualm of faintness: he shut his mouth tight and nodded. I knew it, said Utterson. He meant to murder you. You have had a fine escape. I have had what is far more to the purpose, returned the doctor solemnly: “I have had a lesson — O God, Utterson, what a lesson I have had! And he covered his face for a moment with his hands” (Stevenson, 1886, Chapter 5). With this specific piece from the text, it is very evident how because Dr. Jekyll wanting to explore the unknown (bad/evil) within himself, the spirit of perverseness, Mr. Hyde seems to gain control over Dr. Jekyll ultimately, and they both become this one evil entity that seeks to do all harm, Which can be connected to the narrator in The Black Cat because they decided to explore the unknown for themselves and it ultimately takes control over them.

To go into specifics of the narrator of The Black Cat, This character was already riddled by evil in his life, they would tend to make decisions for themselves that did not benefit anyone around them, And caused harm to themselves as well.  the narrator was someone that was an alcoholic who would abuse their animals all the time.  Within this story, there is one specific animal that the narrator takes a liking to and doesn’t feel the need to harm them the same way they would harm the other animals that live with them. I feel as if the reasoning as to why this story is named “The Black Cat” Is to show what becomes the focus of the narrator, what seems to be the main factor to take over the narrator as a whole. According to, “The Black Cat”, it states “For months I could not rid myself of the phantasm of the cat, there came back into my spirit a half-sentiment that seemed, but was not, remorse…among the vile haunts which I not habitually frequented” (Poe, 1843, Pages 7-8).  earlier on in the story, The narrator decides to her the animal that he seemed to have cherished the most, and because of this action, the narrator is then haunted by the spirit of the black cat in every aspect of his life. This Spirit of Perverseness that overtook the narrator to harm the cat that he cherishes the most, came with the same consequences that Dr. Jekyll received when his Spirit of Perverseness convinced him to create Mr. Hyde.  within both of these stories, these characters considered taking an action that would lead them to resolve their curiosity, but then in turn inflict harm on them as well. 

Between Dr. Jekyll and the narrator of The Black Cat,  it reveals what could bring out the worst in some characters. Within these two specific characters, the gothic temptation that overtook them became an everlasting effect on their lives showing what the Spirit Of Perverseness can do to someone as a result of taking this temptation. In conclusion, the characters of Dr. Jekyll and the narrator have shown perfect examples of how this term “ The Spirit Of Perverseness”  would be demonstrated in Gothic literature. 

Manuel’s Gothic Coffeehouse #3

When it comes to the idea of “redemption”, I feel as if it is usually thought of as a way to self validate for past mistakes, another way of thinking about redemption in a religious example would be repenting for your sins. In the story, characters that could be considered “redeemed” would be Jekyll and Hyde. In the story, Jekyll and Hyde are referred to as two separate characters, but there ends up being a moment of realization where it becomes apparent that Jekyll and Hyde are the same person. When Dr. Jekyll decides to create this new “persona” to delve into a darker version of himself, he ends up creating Mr. Hyde and essentially doesn’t feel the personal guilt of committing a crime because it’s “Mr. Hyde” committing the crime. Eventually, Dr. Jekyll becomes aware of the fact that he cannot control his dark side (Mr. Hyde) anymore and realizes that the only way that Hyde would be stopped would be by ending his life, but since they are two personalities within the same body, Jekyll would in turn ending his own life as well. When you relate the idea of redemption to both Jekyll and Hyde, the reason as to why they are redeemed would be because they live in the same body, Jekyll deciding to take the life of Hyde is essentially considered suicide because he needs to rid himself of this evil that has overcome his life and cannot control anymore, and back to my religious example, Jekyll is essentially repenting for his sins by getting rid of this personality that he created when exploring the deeper and darker sides of himself to understand how it is to commit crimes, but in a way not commit them since it is not being directly committed by Dr. Jekyll, it is being committed by Mr. Hyde.

Manuel’s Coffeehouse Post #2

In chapter 3, the conversation that occurs between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Utterson has to do with Mr. Hyde, the “him” that was referred to in the story was not clearly shown but it was referring to Mr. Hyde. The reason as to why this is ironic is because Utterson doesn’t like Hyde and Dr.Jekyll would not like to have this conversation when it includes Hyde, But Jekyll wants to put his faith and trust in Utterson that he will get the justice that Hyde deserves. Jekyll also decides to make the effort of asking that Utterson will make sure that Hyde, a beneficiary of Jekyll, will receive whatever is entitled to him in Jekyll’s will. It’s interesting how Utterson makes it very apparent to Jekyll that he is not fond of Hyde and needs to share information with him about Hyde that is “abominable”, Jekyll reacts in a way that makes it very apparent at how much he does not want to make Hyde the topic of discussion, almost as if just the name of Hyde alone leaves a bad taste in Jekyll and Utterson’s mouths, but somehow Jekyll is concerned enough to make sure that Hyde is taken care of. Jekyll tries to make sure that Utterson will do this favor of getting Hyde his justice and whatever belongs to him written on Jekyll’s will but had an opposite reaction when the topic of Hyde came up into question, this is questionable considering the fact that Jekyll wanted to avoid having to bring up any new information that involved Hyde himself.

Manuel’s Coffeehouse Post

During this summer I didn’t really do much since the COVID-19 pandemic was still around and there were heightened fears of still contracting it, but I was able to focus on my personal growth as a person and find my inner self since I’ve always been occupied with some form activity, whether it be working at my two jobs or doing schoolwork. While this was happening, I was also able to do some babysitting occasionally here and there for my aunt since she is an essential worker for New York-Presbyterian Hospital and needed me to watch my cousin while she would go to work.

When it comes to the three stories we have read so far, I honestly would have to say that The Black Cat is my favorite story. When it comes to the progression of the story, the beginning starts reasonable and shows the life of a simple man, but once the story starts to progress, you start to see small signs of eeriness and an example of this would be when the narrator explained that he would abuse/mistreat all of his animals except for the black cat that he had a special connection to. Another thing worth pointing out would be the underlying haunting tone that was happening to the narrator, slowly but surely the presence/spirit of the black cat had a lasting impact on the mental stability of the narrator.