“Makes your blood chill and your scalp prickle. . . Shirley Jackson is the master of the haunted tale.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
The novel first appears to be a straightforward story about a doctor and his chosen guests temporarily residing in a haunted house, trying to document abnormal experiences; however, Jackson’s use of cinematic vignettes to capture the atypical events and the quaint dialogue between the characters transforms the novel into a more ominous disturbance, where the characters (always kept in confusion) experience isolation from both the world and (at times) each other.
The house manages to bring out each of the characters’ demons, especially Eleanor who doesn’t always understand what’s going and is submerged by her musings about loneliness and desire. Through Eleanor’s eyes the reader is invited to experience the events at the Hill House, and as the most agitated member of the group, we feel her state of fragility and are bombarded with her insecurities and introversion.