The story “Haunting of Hill House” has great examples of people changing just to fit in. The author Shirley Jackson, who died in 1965, was one of the most brilliant writers of her time. She was widely acclaimed for her hair-raising stories and novels of the supernatural. Although the “Haunting of Hill House” fits this description perfectly with its eerie description of supernatural tales of the happenings of Hill House; there is more to it than hauntings.
The story starts out with three guests being invited to the house to monitor any out of the ordinary occurrences in Hill House. Throughout the story, the guests experience some ghostly moments.
However, during this one of the guests named Eleanor changes her ways to fit in with the guests. Her actions show that society’s views on a person can lead that person to things they would never have thought of. One example would be when Eleanor told lies about herself and her past. Another example would be when Eleanor went around the house alone having no fear. Finally, Eleanor became open and spoke out what was on her mind.
An example of society’s views on a person leading them to things they never thought of was when Eleanor became a liar and lied about her past. Today a lot of people are pressured so much by society to be a certain way they will lie about themselves to fit in with those certain people.
In the story, Eleanor feels that she does not fit in with the group of people who are staying at Hill House. She is a person with a lack of confidence so she feels she has to lie to feel accepted. “Theodora came through the bathroom door into Eleanor’s room; she is lovely, Eleanor thought, turning to look; I wish I were lovely.” This quote shows the lack of confidence she has.
One of Eleanor’s lies was when she told the others she lived alone in an apartment. This is not true because she lives with her sister and her boyfriend in a house. The reason she told this lie was because Theo lived in an apartment with a friend so she felt Theo would not accept her. Throughout the story there were instances where everyone in the house had an opinion of something.
Eleanor would not tell anyone about the way she really felt because she didn’t want anyone to reject her. So she would say what everybody else would say. If Theo favorite color was blue, so was Eleanor’s. If Theo hated something so did Eleanor. Eleanor would have never thought she had to lie to fit in. Being pressured to fit it she felt she had no choice but to pick an identity the others would like. That is one example of how society’s views on a person lead them to things they would have never thought of.
Another example of society’s views on a person leading them to things they never thought of was when Eleanor lost all her fear of Hill House. There are a lot of instances where people try to be someone they are not and are still not accepted so much they stop to care about everything else. This happened to Eleanor.
She felt so isolated from everyone else and felt she stopped caring about everything. She did not think of the fear she had of Hill House. She didn’t care. Since the others rejected her she felt the only thing she had was the house. Eleanor quotes,” I Have broken the spell of Hill House and somehow come inside. When Eleanor first came to the house she hated it. She was scared of every room and would not dare go anywhere alone. Since she felt isolated from the others she felt apart of Hill House.
One night Eleanor got out of her room and quietly went out of her room and roamed the halls alone. She knocked on doors and would wake everyone up. The others finding Eleanor’s room empty went searching for her. The house that Eleanor would not dare explore alone felt like home to Eleanor. The house was all Eleanor had left.
Eleanor felt the others did not accept her even when she tried to be someone else. This pushed her further and further away from the group so she stopped caring and basically went crazy and climbed a high broken-down staircase in the library of Hill House. This is another example of how the views on a person can lead them to do things they would not normally do.
The last example of how society’s views on a person can lead them to do things they would have never thought of before is when Eleanor became more open. The views on a certain person can lead them to do many things. Over time it will help them figure out it does not matter what other people think.
This is what happened to Eleanor. “Eleanor was quiet for a minute, wanting to tell them exactly how it was.” Eleanor finally figured out she did not have to be a certain way and started to tell it like it is. She confessed to lying about where she lived to the other individuals. She felt she did not need to hide anything away from them. She also told Theo what was on her mind. She wanted to go live with Theo so she asked her. Before she would have never asked her or even thought of confessing about where she lived. Eleanor did not care what the others thought anymore. I did not matter to her.
She also confessed to stealing her sister’s car and told them everything she owned was in her suitcase. With this new attitude, the others thought Eleanor had gone mad. They failed to realize that it was their views and comments on her slowly brought out the type of person she really was. They finally got to meet the real Eleanor instead of a fraud. Therefore this is another example of how society’s views can make a person do things they would not ordinarily do which is being more open.
The “Haunting of Hill House” does provide the reader with a chilling tail, as a horror book should do. It can also serve as another purpose by teaching the reader that society’s views on a person can lead that person to things they would never have thought of before. The character that gave examples of this lesson in the story was Eleanor.
Other people’s views lead her to lie about her past. Their views also lead her to forget her fears and roam Hill House alone. Finally, they also caused her to be open and honest. It is important to our society to have people who criticize and judge others, although it may not seem like it. This criticism can help people become stronger individuals. What does not kill us, makes us stronger.
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