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DISCUSSION THREAD | Chapters 1-3 - THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 01, 2016 05:40PM) (new)

Hello, readers! Welcome to spooky, spooky October at READERS INC.

Please discuss the first three chapters of Shirley Jackson's horror classic, The Haunting of Hill House here.

Your first impressions, character interest, symbols, references or events that happen.

If you're going to write something spoilery - please just forewarn.

Feel free to come back and post in this thread as you finish each chapter. You don't have to wait until you've read all three.


message 2: by Felinish (new)

Felinish Completely unrelated I'm reading this book. Ecstatic it's your book of the month. Only 80 pages in but finding it fascinating to discover Eleanor's character. She's a child in an adult's body. It seems as though she's experiencing the world as though she's an unsure young teen. Looking forward to her character development and to that of each other mysterious characters.

Love this is the book you choose! I actually looked to see your rating on it before reading...disappointed you hadn't read it.

Happy reading everyone!


message 3: by Carol (new)

Carol Eleanor does seem a bit childish. Maybe due to her spending the past decade or so only taking care of her mother. Plus the way her sister and brother and law treat her is no help. I'm not too far in yet but this is my second Jackson and I'm enjoying it. I've seen the movie (1999) version so I'm looking forward to seeing how different they are.


message 4: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine | 7 comments I am really enjoying this book! I've watched parts movie version but, i have seen the spoof based on the movie. Now when I read the book all I can see are scenes of Scary Movie 2 lol, so it's taking the scary vibe out of it for me. I love the way Shirley Jackson goes into Eleanor's daydreams to show us her desperation to be somewhere and someone different. It's sad that her life & the people in her life are driving her to that level of desperation for anew.


message 5: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 05, 2016 01:29AM) (new)

I’ve finished just the first chapter but I’m loving it. I loved how she introduced the story, the first paragraph alone is so well-written. How she shows us, immediately, how Dr. Montague selected the ‘assistants’ and learning what his objective is right off the bat was such a clever way to tell a trickster story. In fact, she does this for all of the characters - she shows you glimpses of their true selves and intentions while setting them up for the time in the house. It's usually very much the opposite in mystery: it often takes the entire course of the novel to find out characters intentions. This is exciting for a couple reasons - it tells us immediately that there's much greater discoveries in store which is a perfect way to set up a haunting.

I liked how she incorporated small bits of information about what attracted them to Montague (the rain of stones, Theodora’s card tricks, Luke’s theft.) In this way, it reminds me a lot of early crime fiction (particularly Agatha Christie or Wilkie Collins.) I loved meeting Eleanor. “It’s half my car.” And I loved that in your first introduction of her, she adds the bitter tonic of letting you know that Eleanor has the capacity to “genuinely hate”. I loved the scene where she knocked the lady over and Jackson slyly adding a devilish quality to the situation: where, once again, Eleanor is ‘serving’ someone older and in inferior health. This shows that despite her capacity to hate, she has a problem doing it. She even goes above and beyond to please this random old woman by suggesting she'd take her to "any shop that's open" to buy her new groceries. I just thought that was a wonderful way to characterize Eleanor. She's in the middle of her big escape, her great getaway, her big life-changing moment - and she's still stopped cold, dead in her tracks, and forced to bend to another's will.

For me, the best passage in Chapter 1 is most certainly the fantasies of Eleanor when she’s driving past the home with the gold lion statues. It created such a sad vacuum where at once you can see her mental imbalance and also her desperation for something new while never losing sight of her acidic bitterness. It makes you starve to see how she will react to the other people in the home (especially since Jackson makes a point to tell us that she has very little social skills.)

I can’t wait to read on. I hope everyone’s enjoying the read-along and I thank you very much for the comments and participation.


message 6: by Britta (last edited Oct 05, 2016 09:25AM) (new)

Britta Böhler I've just finished chapter 3 and I am enjoying it immensely. (And I don't normally like horror / gothic that much). The writing is superb, especially the dialogues are wonderful, I think.

And: did anybody else immediately think of Psycho, when reading about Eleonor's car drive and her arrival at Hill House? (By the way, how the house is described: wow!).

PS: I don't know whether I can wait until next week to read on, sorry!


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes! I totally thought of Psycho! Tho the release of this book and that film is only a couple months apart. Still wondering if Hitch read it.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

You guys, I'm really enjoying this book!!!!


message 9: by Carol (new)

Carol I'm enjoying it too! I find the characters somewhat annoying though. I enjoy Jackson's writing.


message 10: by Terri (new)

Terri (terrib) | 4 comments I've always thought of the house as a character in this book.


message 11: by Carol (new)

Carol Terri wrote: "I've always thought of the house as a character in this book."

Yes! You really see that the further you get into the book.


message 12: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine | 7 comments I really love the line in chapter 2 where Eleanor is in the house unpacking and walking silently and she refers to the house as a monster, "I am like a small creature swallowed whole by a monster...and the monster feels my tiny little movements inside." The house feels so alive! I'm loving this book!


message 13: by Cataluna6 (new)

Cataluna6 | 14 comments Jasmine wrote: "I am really enjoying this book! I've watched parts movie version but, i have seen the spoof based on the movie. Now when I read the book all I can see are scenes of Scary Movie 2 lol, so it's takin..."

I've only just started as well, but enjoying so far, I agree with you Jasmine, I have ideas/scenes from the movies in my head, but I have a feeling that between Jackson's writing and Hill House (it really is its own character), I'm going to be sucked in and will forget all about the movies.


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