Study Guide

The Haunting of Hill House Chapter 6

By Shirley Jackson

Chapter 6

  • Chapter 6 opens with Eleanor talking alone with Luke. The two seem to be hitting it off, as it they've got a schoolyard crush, but inside, Eleanor keeps thinking what a selfish, boring, gibberish-talking man Luke is (6.11).
  • Later that day, Luke exclaims he's found something in the library. It's a book titled "MEMORIES, for Sophia Anne Lester Crain; A Legacy of Her Education and Enlightenment During Her Lifetime From Her Affectionate and Devoted Father, HUGH DESMOND LESTER CRAIN; Twenty-first June, 1881" (6.15). Jeez, did Crain save any room for the text itself?
  • The book is a monograph of morality Hugh wrote for his daughter. It teaches her the proper course for a lady—remain sexually innocent, mind your mother and father, keep out of hell, and such. It also comes with illustrations from such famed artists as Francisco Goya and William Blake—and we're guessing not their more lighthearted paintings either.
  • Eleanor finds the work repulsive and at one point can't even look at it.
  • When the readers get to the seven deadly sins, they discover Hugh's own drawings. We might not see them, but they certainly seem to make for one heck of a bedtime story.
  • Hugh signed the book in his own blood. Classic.
  • In the parlor after story time, Theodora teases Eleanor about Luke and her possible crush, wondering whether he'll accept an invitation back to Eleanor's apartment.
  • Eleanor and Theodora leave the house together. It's dark outside, but they keep going.
  • Theodora apologizes for the tease and playfully warns Eleanor that Luke is a rake.
  • Theodora and Eleanor bicker, and it seems we'll finally learn once and for all exactly how these two are attracted to one another... but nope. They move deeper into the forest, and the haunts return.
  • The trees turn white, the sky black. The women move on and find a ghostly family having a picnic in at their spot near the brook.
    Theodora screams, yelling at Eleanor not to look back but to run. And run they do.
  • Back at Hill House, Luke and Dr. Montague are worried. Eleanor tries to explain about the picnic and the children but can't get the words out.
  • Theodora says she looked back but doesn't articulate what she saw. She only lets Eleanor hold her as time as they know it stops.

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