Don joined KGFJ as pd in the spring of We found people didn't want to boogie all the time.
The premise is that of a science experiment--an academic exercise to test the reality of house-haunting. I love the fact that the opening pages essentially replicate the clinical nature of the premise: A contemporary editor might have said: Then we follow Eleanor, the main character, as she takes the car she shares with her sister and drives to Hill House.
Again, it takes a few pages to get there, but it allows for wonderful scenes where her imagination takes flight or where she interacts, awkwardly, with the townsfolk in the nearest small town.
The interaction in the diner is classic Shirley Jackson--capturing the suspicion and unease and boredom of small town life. I'd forgotten just what a genius description of the Hill House we're treated to when Eleanor first sees it.
I find it fascinating that Jackson describes the house for nearly two pages without ever physically describing it, other than to say it's "enormous and dark" and has steps leading up to a veranda. It's presented as being alive, as being almost a lover who "enshadows" Eleanor when she walks up those steps, and in that description you get not only a sense of the house itself, but a sense of Eleanor, of her loneliness and perhaps even madness.
She's afraid of Hill House in the same way she'd be afraid of a lover. Here is this strong presence who threatens to swallow her up, and in a way, when she walks in, a sort of Gothic romance is born.
Eleanor is at the top of the stairs, looking down, and she begins talking before you realize there's anyone else there. Is there anyone really?
Maybe Eleanor is mad. It's a disorienting moment, and then Eleanor sees Mrs. Dudley, but Eleanor is still not described as seeing anyone else until Theodora introduces herself. But even then, there is no physical description of Theodora--there's just a voice: I love that description, but what amazes even more is how the other characters really aren't described at all.
Only the house is tangible in a way. They're playing a game, inventing whimsical characters for themselves, but all is not pure fun--there's the flash of Eleanor's jealousy when Theodora gives Luke a "quick, understanding glance"--the same kind of glance "she had earlier given Eleanor.
You have Eleanor and her sister, of course, at the beginning of the book, and then the tale of the orphaned sisters who lived in Hill House, and then Eleanor and Theodora themselves, who quickly become like sisters. All those relationships are marked and marred by jealousy, one that lies just beneath the polite surface of things.
She does it through so many small decisions like the one I mentioned earlier, where she doesn't physically describe her characters. There's also a wonderful moment at the beginning of Chapter 4, where Eleanor and Theodora wake up after the first uneventful night at Hill House.
It's a small moment, yet so revealing of Jackson's technique. Theodora is in the bathroom, taking a bath. Eleanor is in her room, looking out the window.
Then in the very next paragraph, with no transition whatsoever, Theodora is suddenly pounding on the bathroom door telling Eleanor to hurry up. It takes a moment to realize what has happened--to realize that now Eleanor is in the bath, and Theordora is outside waiting for her.
It's a startling jump-cut, to use a movie term. Jackson is constantly doing that sort of thing, unsettling the reader's expectations, making us realize that anything can happen and we can't rely on the usual narrative logic. It's so subtle, yet so masterful.
Does this have any significance for Jackson's novel? It's an interesting line in and of itself--so revealing of Eleanor's romantic desires, the way she seems so attracted to Theodora and to Hill House itself. She has the overwhelming sense that she belongs here, that she's part of this slapdash "family" of people staying at the house.
She's excited; she's happy; she's constantly afraid of "missing something. This is her journey's end, and she's met her lover or loversand she relishes every moment. It's begins with something immensely small--Theodora painting Eleanor's toenails red without Eleanor's permission.
It's a small moment, but Eleanor harkens back to it later, when Theodora is frightened by the bloody creepy words painted on her wall:When Shirley Jackson's chilling story "The Lottery" was first published in in the The New Yorker, it generated more letters than any work of fiction the magazine had ever published.
Readers were furious, disgusted, occasionally curious, and . Prizes and Proceeds. Since the lottery's start in , its players have won more than $ billion in prizes while the lottery has raised more than $ billion for the state programs that benefit all Iowans.
Jun 27, · June 27 — of , implicitly — was the setting for Shirley Jackson‘s classic short story “The Lottery”. In “The Lottery” (available online here (pdf)), friendly townsfolk gather “in the square, between the post office and the bank” to enact a curious civic ritual dating to a time.
The September/October issue previews state legislative elections and what voters will face on statewide ballot measures. Also read about efforts to halt sexual harassment in .
Go to end of notes. Go to chronology. Go to charact. list.
Go to Pride&Prej. motifs. Go to place list/map. Go to table of contents. Miscellaneous notes on Pride and Prejudice and Jane Austen's era "Fair".
Click here for a detailed plot summary of “The Lottery” Shirley Jackson is a master at manipulating her reader, a tactic that pays off as the story unfolds and all of the things that once seemed pleasant are shown to have a very dark side.