Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House

The Haunting of Hill House
by Shirley Jackson

Last week I reread Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House for a book group discussion. It was the first time that I participated in a book group and reread a book; both experiences were illuminating. Members’ different perspectives enabled me to view the book in many dimensions. For instance, it never occurred to me that just maybe the house was not haunted, Eleanor Vance, the protagonist might just be, in layman's terms, crazy, and the other denizens of Hill House, deceitful.

Another interpretation, Hill House is haunted and targets Eleanor, the most vulnerable inhabitant. As for me, I agree with the latter, but it is a moot issue. The validity, I would argue is the third person omniscient narrator that describes Dr. Montague intent of his research at Hill House, which would absolve him of any disingenuous behavior. Nevertheless, Eleanor also narrates the story. Lastly, the treacherous library scene, and the words Eleanor utters before the tragic end, demonstrates there was a paranormal event-taking place at Hill House. The disputable interpretations of The Haunting of Hill House substantiates it is a brilliantly written psychological horror. Reading attentively (for me a reread) reveals repletion of foreshadowing and correlations among characters.

Short Synopsis:

Dr. Montague, an erudite man pursues to validate his premise of uncovering supernatural phenomena through conducting research in an infamous haunted house called Hill House. He seeks out individuals with paranormal abilities to aid in his quest. Cold spots, loud banging, and mumbling voices are just a few of the abnormal events that occur at Hill House.

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