“Well,” she asked, “how do you gentlemen like living in a haunted house?”
“It’s perfectly fine,” Luke said, “perfectly fine. It gives me an excuse to have a drink in the middle of the night."
Hill House is starting to produce some haunting...maybe, I'm not quite sure what is physically happening and what is psychologically happening. I find it really hard not to human condition this instead of sinking into the supernatural horror. Eleanor really draws me in with how she thinks and reacts to things.
what a complete and separate thing I am, she thought, going from my red toes to the top of my head, individually an I, possessed of attributes belonging only to me. I have red shoes, she thought—that goes with being Eleanor; I dislike lobster and sleep on my left side and crack my knuckles when I am nervous and save buttons. I am holding a brandy glass which is mine because I am here and I am using it and I have a place in this room. I have red shoes and tomorrow I will wake up and I will still be here.
The layer of Eleanor escaping out from under her mother and sister, to some extent, with how she is discovering who she is and gaining the confidence to show it and be it, is a mixture of sad, angry, and hopeful. Thinking of when this is written, it makes me think of how women were gaining ground on autonomy. I'm probably going a whole different wild direction with this but the house feels more like a masked representation for society/cultural/family structures that are "haunting" Eleanor and how they could be all in her head or really affecting her. The scene where only Eleanor and Theodora hear the banging, while the men our out was interesting. I am also highly cognitive of the MeToo movement, which colors a lot of how I interpret and perceive things lately. Again, why reviews can only be subjective as so much pertains to the life experiences of the reader.
“It’s embarrassing. To think about being afraid, I mean.”
“We’re all in it together, you know,” Theodora said.
“It’s worse if you try not to show it,” the doctor said.
We get to see all the characters interact in this part. I thought when they were all gathered around that the conversation seemed off, or unnatural. I don't know if it is simply a case of when this was written and how language and interactions differ but the flow just wasn't there for me.
“I think,” he said, “that what we all want is facts. Something we can understand and put together.”
“When Luke and I are called outside, and you two are kept imprisoned inside, doesn’t it begin to seem”—and his voice was very quiet—“doesn’t it begin to seem that the intention is, somehow, to separate us?”
I can't help but think there is something off with the doctor. You have him at turns spouting calm, analytical thinking only to have him seemingly wanting to ramp up the spookiness or anxiety to covertly induce fear.
Although, this was a nice line from him (aka the author):
“It was said that the older sister was crossed in love,” the doctor agreed, “although that is said of almost any lady who prefers, for whatever reason, to live alone.
Theodora is a nice contrast to Eleanor and I like how they play off of each other. Luke is just kind of there right now and the caretakers are nice and ambiguously creepy, lol.
I'm probably not as eeked out as I should be, because of focusing so much on Eleanor's self-discovery and journey for autonomy, and I don't know if I completely buy into the house being truly haunted or certain humans wanting it to appear that way. I don't know, this is probably why horror works better for me with movies and tv shows. Written word has me analyzing in a way visuals don't, maybe because more context is provided?
This gave me a little promise to experiencing the eek:
is this what they mean by cold chills going up and down your back? Because it is not pleasant; it starts in your stomach and goes in waves around and up and down again like something alive. Like something alive. Yes. Like something alive.
Theodora looked up at her gravely. “I have a hunch,” she said, “that you ought to go home, Eleanor.”
With Theodora supposedly having some psychic ability, I'm wondering if she is feeling or knows more than she is letting on. Curious to see if haunting ramps up or more questions about psychological fears creating.