The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson: Literary Analysis

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The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson: Literary Analysis

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In the conclusion of the book, you are shown the death of Eleanor. I came to the realization that a very similar death was described previously in the book. Eighteen years before, a man left Hill House in darkness and his horse bolted into a tree at a turn in the drive, instantly killing him.

It was very important that both of these events happened in the book. The man's death served as foreshadowing in my opinion. After reading about both of the deaths, I began to think that there must be some way that they were connected with the house. It became very evident that Eleanor was going insane in her last few day. I felt like it was meant to show that the house led other people to their deaths before and had done it again and again and would continue to do so until it existed no more.

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I believed that Eleanor died in that way for several reasons. First of all, I think in a way it fulfilled her insane thoughts of never wanting to leave Hill House. Also it allowed her to become the center of attention in a twisted way. I thought that she secretly wanted this because of how she was always self-conscious about how everyone was talking to her and how she spoke with others.


In a small paragraph, the book describes why each character was chosen to come to Hill House. Eleanor was there because when she was a child stones were flung at her house by an unseen hand. In many ways, I feel that this event that happened in Eleanor's childhood can be used to explain her actions and events at the house.

The stones made me think that either Eleanor has been a magnet for supernatural things or even caused it herself through mental powers. This could explain how the house reacts to her if she was a magnet. Soon the house starts using her name while writing messages on the walls. However, I began to think again that it could possibly be in her mind that is causing this subconsciously for attention,

Eleanor denies that the rocks were thrown through paranormal activities, but rather were thrown by neighbors. This seemed very strange to me, but Eleanor kept bringing up her mother who told her this. This gave me insight somewhat of her relationship with her mother. This showed that she was very trusting of her mother to believe what she said and it showed that her mother must of lied to her possibly to protect her child.


The characters Theodora and Eleanor have a very interesting relationship throughout the story. In one paragraph, Eleanor explains her loathing for Theodora when only a few days ago they were best friends. I feel that this has to do with the girls obsession with having attention.

It became evident that Eleanor was very shy and self-conscious and she can't carry on a conversation with a person. However when she meets Theodora, it seemed like she was glad to have a friend and have attention. Soon, the house begins to center around Eleanor by writing her name on the walls and covering Theodora's clothes with blood. I think these events were supposed to show that the house was siding with shy Eleanor rather than the egocentric Theodora. I think that this made Eleanor feel special from getting attention but made Theodora upset from not getting it like she used to.

This relationship carried startlingly similar resemblance to the two daughters of Hugh Crain, the first owner of the house. They started out loving each other as young sisters do. However when they grew they hated each other fighting over ownership of Hill House. I think that it was supposed to show how the house can tear people up.


On Eleanor's journey to Hill House, she stops at a country restaurant. Here she watches a family dine. The youngest child refuses the milk because she wants her favorite cup with stars in the bottom. This "cup of stars" incident I felt had a very important effect in the novel.

Eleanor thought in her mind to the little girl for her to insist to drink from her cup os stars. I believe that partial reason for this was because of her sister and her relationship together. She thinks that once the little girl drinks from a regular cup like everyone else then she will never see her cup of stars again. I felt that Eleanor held some dislike for her sister because her sister tried to tell Eleanor what she could and could not do. I think she was trying to tell the little girl not to give in like she had done when her sister told her to do something, which only led to a horrible life for Eleanor.

Also I believe the event had something to do with what would happen later at the house. Eleanor could have had a possible telepathic ability that she used to communicate with the little girl. This was very important because at Hill House, some of the events are thought to have been caused be Eleanor's mind.

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