Study Guide

The Haunting of Hill House Chapter 5

By Shirley Jackson

Chapter 5

  • Eleanor wakes up to her second morning in Hill House with a case of the happies. Yep, even after last night, she's stoked to be there.
  • At breakfast, Eleanor finds that everyone is still happy to be there. They know they were frightened last night, but can't recall how the fear really felt (now, that's the sign of a good breakfast).
  • Dr. Montague warns the guests that they might be falling under Hill House's spell, but he believes no physical danger exists. Hill House attacks the mind, unlike poltergeists, which throw stones and move furniture and will at the very least annoy you.
  • Eleanor suddenly laughs, overcome with elation at being where she is. She asks the doctor what they are to do today.
  • Dr. Montague tells the guests to amuse themselves, and when Mrs. Dudley arrives at ten sharp to clear the table, they do just that.
  • The guests run up and down the halls, laughing and telling jokes. The Real Ghostbusters these guys are not.
  • The guests decide to play a trick on Mrs. Dudley and ask for coffee before it's coffee time. The nerve of some people, right?
  • Luke is sent to the task, but he comes back without the coffee and asks everyone to join him in the hall.
  • There's a message scrawled across the hall. It reads: "HELP ELEANOR COME HOME" (5.74).
  • Eleanor panics at the thought of Hill House knowing her name. Theodora tries to calm her down, but she turns and accuses both Theodora and Luke of writing the message. When Theodora wonders if Eleanor wrote it herself, well, let's just say the fight is on.
  • Luke and the doctor slip away while Theodora and Eleanor verbally duke it out.
  • Eleanor and Theodora make up, but secretly, Eleanor wonders if Theodora isn't trying to move herself into the center of the group in order to exclude Eleanor altogether.
  • The day passes, and the group occupies itself with reading and games. At one point, Dr. Montague and Luke try to measure a cold spot but get nowhere.
  • The group decides to play croquet outside. The members of the group are surprised to realize that they can't really picture a world outside Hill House.
  • Dr. Montague mentions his wife—whom we'll creatively call Mrs. Montague—will be coming to Hill House on Saturday, and the guests realize they have no idea when Saturday is.
  • Theodora complains about all the waiting, but Eleanor suggests that maybe it's Hill House, not the guests, who is doing the waiting.
  • On that cheerful note, the Eleanor and Theodora go to take a nap. You know what happens here, right? Theodora screams for Eleanor.
  • Hill House has decided to play it up, ancient curse-style. Theodora's room and clothes are covered in blood.
  • Eleanor calls Luke and the doctor. Theodora is sobbing when the others arrive and discover the same message from earlier scrawled on the wall in blood.
  • It's decided that Eleanor will have to share her room and clothes with Theodora. Luke notices that this message doesn't trouble Eleanor as much: she says it's just silly a second time. The whole blood part doesn't even faze her.
  • Dr. Montague says he'll need to make a sketch of the room tomorrow but locks it for the day.
  • Theodora thanks Eleanor for keeping her head, sayings it's been a great help.
  • Luke mentions Theodora will look grand in Eleanor's red sweater, and Theodora says she and Eleanor will be twins. Eleanor calls back cousins, but no one hears her.
  • In the parlor that night, Eleanor thinks about how much she hates Theodora while acting like everything's peachy on the surface.
  • Eleanor tells Theodora that her fear of the message had to do with the fact that it was her name. If whatever was in Hill House had her name, then it could possibly take her name, and what would she be without that? Nameless, that's what.
  • Dr. Montague tells Eleanor to drink her brandy, as it'll help her sleep. She does so, and they all agree she should stop trying to be the center of attention.
  • That night, the haunts return. This time, Eleanor and Theodora are lying close together, holding hands.
  • The sounds are of gurgling laughter and a babbling voice. Then the women hear the small, sad cry of a child. The child's cry breaks Eleanor's heart, and she screams for it to go away.
  • Then the lights are on, and Theodora is nowhere near Eleanor. She wonders aloud whose hand she was holding.

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...