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“I’ll Come Back and Break Your Spell”: Narrative Freedom and Genre in The Haunting of Hill House

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In The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson interplays repression and fear inside a “normal” world, reshaping the modern Gothic novel. In this article, I trace key moments in the text where the perceptions of her complicated protagonist, Eleanor Vance, appear without the mediation of the narrator, via verb tenses, punctuation/formatting choices, and quotation. Many of these moments, I argue, occur in narrative spaces that are more quotidian than Gothic (some not even chilling at all). With the periodic narrative freedom, which I call bare thoughts, this recalibrates the division between imaginary and reality while opening up possibilities for another, hybrid genre for Hill House. Eleanor’s entrapment by the quotidian Gothic and her occupation of the liminal space between reality and fantasy offer a new way to read Jackson’s novel as a narratologically revolutionary text.


This is the postprint of: Ashton, Hilarie. "'I'll Come Back and Break Your Spell": Narrative Freedom and Genre in The Haunting of Hill House." Style, vol. 52, no. 3, 2018, pp. 268-286, doi: 10.5325/style.52.3.0268

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