The Haunting of Hill House Essay - Masterplots II: Juvenile & Young Adult Literature Series The Haunting of Hill House Analysis

Shirley Jackson

Masterplots II: Juvenile & Young Adult Literature Series The Haunting of Hill House Analysis

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

While The Haunting of Hill House uses supernatural ambiguity, its primary focus is a study of Eleanor and her quest for a place to belong. Above all, the novel is an examination of alienation and its shattering effects. All events revolve around Eleanor and her sense of isolation and imprisonment. Her existence has always been one of bondage to other people. Her mother is exchanged for an overbearing sister who refuses Eleanor use of the car that she helped purchase. En route to Hill House, Eleanor fantasizes about taking up residence in a large house guarded by the stone lions and dreams of a cup of stars. In spite of Hill House’s loud noises and other fears, she feels at home there because she has found a sense of community.

Eleanor pays a high price to break free of the bonds in which life has placed her. The very car that was both instrument and symbol of her escape from her sister becomes the instrument of her death and the tool that makes her an irrevocable part of Hill House. She frees herself from her sister and the stifling existence that she has known only to become trapped in Hill House. She has fulfilled her belief that journeys end with lovers meeting. As the book concludes with a repeat of the opening paragraph, Jackson reveals the grim message that even in her place of belonging, Eleanor still walks alone, imprisoned again.

While supernatural considerations are secondary in the book, they are significant in the study...

(The entire section is 439 words.)