In The Haunting of Hill House, Jackson emphasizes the fine line between sanity and insanity. The perception of absolute reality, unfiltered by dreams, defined by states of mind of which perceived inaccurately can lead to madness. The novel has only just begun, but the female gothic is immensely apparent. However, it is done in a peculiar type of way, with a house so old it is considered living itself, acts as the antagonist.
The “supernaturality” of the Hill House is quite complex because it is not supernatural at all. In fact, the Hill House is truly natural of “absolute reality”. The Hill House’s continuous antagonism to positive dreaming is made clear through relentless efforts to tempt Eleanor.
Eleanor, defined by her dreaminess is reciprocated by the Hill House which is defined by the lack of dreaming. Theodora’s life was one of “delight and soft colors” (Jackson 4). However, this was not the instance for Eleanor, whose childhood was confined to caring for a sick and tyrannical mother to the extent that the House’s own manifestations take the form of that mother. Due to this, Eleanor finds refuge in her daydreams, translating the ultimately indescribable into simple objects and actions, “fantasy functions as her primary coping mechanism.
” (Jackson 35). The two character were juxtaposed at the creek when Theodora claimed what she saw “‘was a rabbit; that went over the hill and out of sight.'”(Jackson 39). At this moment Theodora attempts to elude the horrors of the house and Eleanor succeeds in doing so, whether by self-delusion or genuine blindness.
Furthermore, the female gothic is present in more fundamental ways; the dark atmosphere, powerlessness, isolation, and vulnerability. Conclusively, the female gothic as outlined by Davison and the concept of “absolute reality) is abundantly evident in the novel The Haunting of Hill House.