Analysis Of The Haunting Of Hill House

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Societal and Individual Interpretations of Family and Idea of “Home”
Throughout many stories, ideas about what makes a home and family are communicated to audiences because of the direct relatability to everyone, no matter what their background. Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson, is a novel about a group of people who are called to a supposedly haunted house to partake in a study of its paranormal activity. Eleanor Vance, the protagonist, is exceptionally susceptible to the haunting and feels oddly drawn to the house, with her life ultimately ending in suicide after she was ordered to leave. Modern Times, by Charlie Chaplin, is set in the 1930s during the time of a depression and follows the story of Charlie (as himself) and his precarious
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In contrast, the protagonists’ ideas of what makes a “home” reflect the time period of their setting, revealing that the definition of home and family can change according to societal and individual factors. The protagonist’s in both pieces, Eleanor and Charlie, are characterized as lonesome, homeless, protagonists who are misfits in the society they live in. Eleanor is a 32-year-old woman who lived with her mother as her caretaker until she died, then moving into her older sister’s house before running away to Hill House. While never without somewhere to stay, Eleanor “had been waiting for something like Hill House” for her whole life, revealing her feeling of homelessness (Jackson 4). Charlie is a factory worker that loses a series of jobs and does not have a stable place to live. After being forced into the hospital and jail and then temporarily living in a shack, the film closes with Charlie walking down a dirt road with nowhere to go. Both characters are childlike; with Eleanor being infantilized and calling herself “a very silly baby” every morning and …show more content…
Notably, during the 1930s there was a stock market crash that led to the Great Depression with poverty and unemployment affecting all of the United States. Also during this time there was an increase in automation and technology that increased profits, signalling that the American Dream was a capitalist dream. Modern Times exemplifies the attitude of the fear of communism of this time at too, particularly demonstrated in the scene where Charlie gets swept up in the street protest. The backward movement of the camera shows Charlie’s inadvertent relationship to the protesters and his overall insignificance during the era. Conversely, The Haunting of Hill House was set in the 1950s, which were a very different time, characterized by the recovering and post-war prosperity from the Second World War and the growth of the American Dream, including anxiety about its attainability. This anxiety was well represented in the The Haunting of Hill House, because in the end, each character’s fate was not neatly wrapped up, especially with the ambiguity surrounding Eleanor’s suicide. In regards to making a “home,” Charlie and the Gamin were perfectly content to run away together, being homeless or living in a shack, since their definition of home was that they had each other and that somehow it would

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