Haunting Of Hill House Analysis

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The protagonist of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House is Eleanor Vance, an emotionally underdeveloped young woman with a dark past. As a character, she has a deep connection to the broad theme of family within the novel, and more specifically, how the lack of family when it is desperately needed leads to emptiness. The first major noticeable thing about Eleanor is the desire to free herself from the confines of her reality. This part of her character is what drives her from the very beginning of the novel onward. During her journey to Hill House, she imagines various different lives she might live in all the different houses she sees. However, this freedom that Eleanor is so eager to achieve always come in an illusionary form.…show more content…
Everyone needs a home and a family to get by, but Eleanor seems unable to function in any situation outside of a home. She is unable to go out and make her own home, and like a child, she needs the home of another person to give her shelter and to protect her from the terrors that really get under her skin, such as the real world. And even when Eleanor thinks she has found a home with her newfound “cousin” Theodora, that is also ripped away. Theodora as a woman is everything that Eleanor is not: Bold, confident, and outgoing. As a character, she and Eleanor’s views of family differ drastically. She is the only character in the novel who doesn’t have a last name, which suggests how much of a free spirit she is. All the other main characters have last names and are in some way controlled by their families: Eleanor practically has to steal the car she and her sister share to get by her family’s restrictive rules, Luke is only at Hill House because his aunt forced him to go, and Doctor Montague’s wife walks all over him. On the other hand, Theodora is completely free of family and all the obligations that come with it. She isn’t tied down to a family or a home and has a distaste for family life, the complete opposite of everything Eleanor desires and needs in her life. When Eleanor asks Theodora if she can move in with her, Theodora promptly turns her
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