Essay 5 - Richard Salvagno English 1105: Haunted Houses...

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Richard Salvagno English 1105: Haunted Houses Essay 5 March 30, 2010 The mental deterioration of Eleanor in Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting of Hill House” stemmed from her desire to live the lifestyle that was ideal during the time period of the story. Throughout the novel, Eleanor dives deeper into irrationality and loses touch with reality due to her realization that her strong desire of establishing the home life, lived by an increasing number of Americans, can never be reached. Because her residency at Hill House is only temporary, Eleanor’s attempts at living such a life are futile and result in her removal from the house. In Wendy Kozol’s article titled “Life’s America: Family and Nation in Postwar Photojournalism,” the lifestyle desired by Eleanor is presented. Kozol describes how American society shifted to become more domestic and independent. “In the postwar years, middle-class Americans increasingly turned towards the privatized world of home and children,” (Kozol 52). During the time period of the 1950’s, a large proportion of Americans were establishing families and homes following the end of World War Two. Likewise, the “direct federal spending on highway construction and innovative home and loan taxation policies supported business efforts to create unprecedented opportunities for these Americans to inhabit single-family, detached suburban houses,” (Kozol 52). This combination of a heavy influx of returning citizens from war combined with government actions that benefitted this lifestyle created a boom of suburban homes. No longer were people living in cities in close quartered residencies such as apartments. Instead, families were being established and raised in spread out locations, with each home being
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Salvagno 2 independent from the next. The time period of Jackson’s novel is placed during the height of the suburban expansion. Epitomizing the isolated and independent quality of the time, Hill House is
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Essay 5 - Richard Salvagno English 1105: Haunted Houses...

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