wishfulclicking: (gen: mia w in red/black)
[personal profile] wishfulclicking
This post is solely based on the first chapter with me not having read the rest of the book. I wanted to make this post untainted by later events so I can maybe make some (wrong) predictions. Though this post is focused on the first chapter, I have finished the book, so feel free to comment on events beyond the first chapter.

From the first line of No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality: even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. I knew I was in for something weird and vaguely upsetting in that way really good horror can be. Jackson described Hill House next, putting it in the center of attention, as the thing that others react to.

At first, I thought the story would be centered on Dr. Montague and his aim of respectability while studying the occult; after the brief introduction of the assistants I thought it the narrative would swing back to him. One thing I did note that all the assistants are presented one way but hints are dropped that suggest they are more than what they are perceived to be.

The rest of the chapter zooms in on Eleanor, and from the outset her layered characterization shines. She’s someone of forced stunted social skills because of her role as caretaker to her mother (and I loved that note that she hated her just for the pause I took at the sentence), and she has a passively antagonistic relationship with her sister and her sister’s husband (the car argument was done so well in its passive aggressive familial spat vibe). But she’s also fierce in a quiet way, that once she’s set on something she does not give up; this is shown when she takes the car, but also when she stops at the diner even though Dr. Montague advised her against it. Her negative feelings only land on their designated marks; when she bumps into the old woman, she quickly tries to make amends.

When she’s traveling to the house I did note how each location that pulled her attention was wrapped in fantasy and her dreams of grandeur; perhaps her using the fantastic to describe these locations is a result of her forced situation where she didn’t get to develop many social skills, but I do like these dreamy sidesteps Eleanor takes.

The diner scene reminded me of so many horror films where there’s a small town nearby full of suspicious locals. As her distance to Hill House decreases, the ominous notes increase, reaching a high point in the confrontation with the groundskeeper, another moment where Eleanor retreats into fantasy for a moment before she tries her best to take control of the situation. With the rush of the groundskeeper meeting behind her (but not without another warning), Eleanor, again, pulls to fantasy to make a situation more palatable with the dream of the smuggler, but that train of thought is quickly cut off with the reality of Hill House and her first, immediate true thought: The House was vile [...] get away from here at once.”
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wishfulclicking: man in black and white pulling back a curtain to show moving sky (Default)
needs to up my sock game

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