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A Hounted House Analysis

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Analysis of short story

Title                             : A Haunted House

Author                         : Virginia Woolf (1884-1941)

Word count                 : 710

First Published            : 1921

Type of Plot                : Fantasy

Time of Work              : The early 1900’s

Setting                         : An English house and garden

Characters                   : A living couple, a ghost couple

Genres                         : Short fiction, Fantasy

Subjects                       : Memory, Love or romance, Marriage, Ghosts or apparitions, England or English people, Afterlife, Houses, mansions, or manors

Locales                        : England

Paragraph                    : 10

 

 

A Haunted House

By Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)

Whatever hour you woke there was a door shutting. From room to room they went, hand in hand, lifting here, opening there, making sure–a ghostly couple.

“Here we left it,” she said. And he added, “Oh, but here tool” “It’s upstairs,” she murmured. “And in the garden,” he whispered. “Quietly,” they said, “or we shall wake them.”

But it wasn’t that you woke us. Oh, no. “They’re looking for it; they’re drawing the curtain,” one might say, and so read on a page or two. “Now they’ve found it,’ one would be certain, stopping the pencil on the margin. And then, tired of reading, one might rise and see for oneself, the house all empty, the doors standing open, only the wood pigeons bubbling with content and the hum of the threshing machine sounding from the farm. “What did I come in here for? What did I want to find?” My hands were empty. “Perhaps its upstairs then?” The apples were in the loft. And so down again, the garden still as ever, only the book had slipped into the grass.

But they had found it in the drawing room. Not that one could ever see them. The windowpanes reflected apples, reflected roses; all the leaves were green in the glass. If they moved in the drawing room, the apple only turned its yellow side. Yet, the moment after, if the door was opened, spread about the floor, hung upon the walls, pendant from the ceiling–what? My hands were empty. The shadow of a thrush crossed the carpet; from the deepest wells of silence the wood pigeon drew its bubble of sound. “Safe, safe, safe” the pulse of the house beat softly. “The treasure buried; the room . . .” the pulse stopped short. Oh, was that the buried treasure?

A moment later the light had faded. Out in the garden then? But the trees spun darkness for a wandering beam of sun. So fine, so rare, coolly sunk beneath the surface the beam I sought always burned behind the glass. Death was the glass; death was between us, coming to the woman first, hundreds of years ago, leaving the house, sealing all the windows; the rooms were darkened. He left it, left her, went North, went East, saw the stars turned in the Southern sky; sought the house; found it dropped beneath the Downs. “Safe, safe, safe,” the pulse of the house beat gladly. “The treasure yours.”

The wind roars up the avenue. Trees stoop and bend this way and that. Moonbeams splash and spill wildly in the rain. But the beam of the lamp falls straight from the window. The candle burns stiff and still. Wandering through the house, opening the windows, whispering not to wake us, the ghostly couple seeks their joy.

“Here we slept,” she says. And he adds, “Kisses without number.” “Waking in the morning–” “Silver between the trees–” “Upstairs–” ‘In the garden–” “When summer came–” ‘In winter Showtime–” “The doors go shutting far in the distance, gently knocking like the pulse of a heart.

Nearer they come, cease at the doorway. The wind falls, the rain slides silver down the glass. Our eyes darken, we hear no steps beside us; we see no lady spread her ghostly cloak. His hands shield the lantern. “Look,” he breathes. “Sound asleep. Love upon their lips.”

Stooping, holding their silver lamp above us, long they look and deeply. Long they pause. The wind drives straightly; the flame stoops slightly. Wild beams of moonlight cross both floor and wall, and, meeting, stain the faces bent; the faces pondering; the faces that search the sleepers and seek their hidden joy.

“Safe, safe, safe,” the heart of the house beats proudly. “Long years–” he sighs. “Again you found me.” “Here,” she murmurs, “sleeping; in the garden reading; laughing, rolling apples in the loft. Here we left our treasure–” Stooping, their light lifts the lids upon my eyes. “Safe! Safe! Safe!” the pulse of the house beats wildly. Waking, I cry “Oh, is this your buried treasure? The light in the heart.

 

 

 

Dialogue in “A Haunted House”

The Narrator    : whatever hour you woke there was a door shutting. From room to room they went, hand in hand, lifting here, opening there, making sure—a ghost couple.

Woman ghost  : here we left it

Man ghost       : oh, but here too!

Woman ghost  : it’s upstairs

Man ghost       : and in the garden

Man ghost and woman ghost  : quietly or we shall wake them.

The narrator     : but it wasn’t that you woke us. Oh, no.

Woman ghost  : they are looking for it; they are drawing the curtain.

The narrator     : one might say, and so read on a page or two.

Man ghost       : now they had found it,

The narrator     : one would be certain, stopping the pencil on the margin. And then, tired of reading, one might rise and see for oneself, the house all empty, the doors standing open, only the woods pigeons bubbling with content and the hum of the threshing machine sounding from the farm.

Man ghost       : what did I come in here for? What did I want to find? My hands were empty.

Woman ghost  : perhaps its upstairs then?

The narrator     : the apples were in the loft. And so down again, the garden still as ever, only the book had slipped into the grass.

But they had found it in the drawing room. Not that one could ever see them. The windowpanes reflected apples, reflected roses; all the leaves were green in the grass. If they moved in the drawing room, the apple only turned its yellow side. Yet, the moment after, if the door was opened, spread about the floor, hung upon the walls, pendant from the ceiling—what? My hands were empty. The shadow of a thrush crossed the carpet; from the deepest wells of silence the wood pigeon drew its bubble of sound.

The pulse of the house            : safe, safe, safe. The treasure buried; the room…

The narrator                 : oh, was that the buried treasure?

The moment later the light had faded. Out in the garden then? But the trees spun darkness for a wandering beam of sun. So fine, so rare, coolly sunk beneath the surface the beam I sought always burned behind the glass. Death was the glass; death was between us, coming to the woman first, hundreds of years ago, leaving the house, sealing all the windows; the rooms were darkened. He left it, left her, went North, when East, saw the stars turned in the Southern sky; sought the house; found it dropped beneath the Downs.

The pulse of the house            : safe, safe, safe, the treasure yours

The narrator     : the wind roads up the avenue. Trees stoop and bend this way and that. Moonbeams splash and spill wildly in the rain. But the beam of the lamp falls straight from the window. The candle burns stiff and still. Wandering through the house, opening the windows, whispering not to wake us, the ghostly couple seeks their joy.

Woman ghost  : here we slept

Man ghost       : kisses without number

Woman ghost and man ghost : waking in the morning, silver between the trees, upstairs, in the garden, when summer came, in winter Showtime.

The narrator     : the doors go shutting far in the distance, gently knocking like the pulse of a heart.

Nearer they come, cease at the doorway. The winds falls, the rain slides silver down the glass. Our eyes darken, we hear no steps beside us; we see no lady spread her ghostly cloak. His hands shield the lantern.

Husband          : look. Sound asleep. Love upon their lips.

The narrator     : Stooping, holding their silver lamp above us, long they look and deeply. Long they pause. The wind drives straightly; the flame stoops slightly. Wild beams of moonlight cross both floor and wall, and, meeting, stain the faces bent; the faces pondering; the faces that search the sleepers and seek their hidden joy.

The pulse of the heart : safe, safe, safe

Man ghost       : long years… again you found me.

Woman ghost  : here. Sleeping; in the garden reading; laughing; rolling apples in the loft. Here we left our treasure.

The narrator     : Stooping, their light lifts the lids upon my eyes.

The pulse of the heart : safe, safe, safe !

The narrator     : oh, is this your buried treasure? The light in the heart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Section 1
Introduction (literal description/summary/synopsis)

Two ghosts, a male and a female, a couple, go around their former house searching for some buried treasure. In the end, they realize that the real treasure is actually “the light in the heart,” the love of a certain partner for the other partner.

This short story is haunting, yet beautiful. The beginning starts off with a “ghostly couple” that is looking for something. They wander around the house as quiet as they can so they won’t wake the inhabitants. The narrator–who lives in the house–isn’t awoken by them. However, the searching and confusion does pass onto her. The drawing room is described next. When the couple is in there, there are green leaves, roses, and apples reflected in the window. Anyone else just sees the room how it is, though. The house’s heart beats “safe” over and over; ensuring that the treasure the couple is looking for is indeed there and belongs to them. Next, the couple when they weren’t ghosts is described. The wife died hundreds of years back, which sent the husband traveling. He eventually came back to the house, though. The story pulls back to the present, where the couple begins to recall old memories. They stop in the narrator’s doorway and look upon her and her lover. The narrator then wakes and guesses that the hidden treasure is actually the “light in the heart”.

 

Section 2
Intrinsic elements

Setting

a)      place – in a house formerly owned by a ghost couple

b)       time- a long time ago

c)   weather conditions- fine

d)   social conditions- the ghosts led a comfortable life when they were still alive

e)   mood or atmosphere- light

 Character

There are only 4 characters in this short story, the male and the female ghosts, both protagonists, both flat and static. And living couple as minor character, both antagonists, both flat and static.

Conflict

The conflict here is Internal, that of Man (or ghost, to that matter)vs. Himself, as each of the ghosts here is frantically searching for the said treasure around their former house, afraid that the new occupants have found it.

Point of view

The Point of View used in this short story is the Omniscient Limited – The author tells the story in third person (using pronouns they, she, he, it, etc). We know only what the character knows and what the author allows him/her to tell us. We can see the thoughts and feelings of characters if the author chooses to reveal them to us.

Theme

For us, the theme Things are not always as they appear to be is applicable to this story which major theme is love story.

Plot

a) Introduction

This short story takes place in a house where two ghosts, a couple, used to live.

b) Rising Action

The couple-ghosts think that the present living occupants of their former house have already found the buried treasure that they are looking for.

c) Climax

The ghosts are still searching for their treasure and they are wondering whether it is in the garden.

d) Falling action

realizing that the treasure was not found by the house’s present occupants, the ghosts are relieved that it is safe, and such treasure is really theirs.

e) Denouement:

Finally, the ghosts know that the treasure is really safe, and theirs, and such treasure is not tangible things, but intangible, found in the light in the heart.

 

 

 

 

Section 3
Discussion (Analyze by approach)

This short story analyze using kind of formal approach which is new criticism approach.

The technique of “close reading” was created by critics such as F.R. Leavis and Cleanth Brooks, and it’s not a coincidence that it came to the fore in the wake of High Modernism. If one didn’t engage in “close reading” of authors such as James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, or William Faulkner, one couldn’t read them at all. Old techniques such as reading for the plot result in one getting to the bottom of the first page of one of these writers’ works and saying, “Huh?”

The story A Haunted House by Virginia Woolf is a short story full of symbolism, imagery, and irony. The story is narrated in the third-person limited or the limited omniscience point of view which helps the reader to get a more in-depth perception of how the ghosts and the living people feel and helps the reader understand some of the thoughts that these flat, static characters have throughout the story.

The time period is never clearly stated but it appears to be a long time ago, possibly in the late 1800’s at an old English house with a garden. A Haunted House is about a ghost couple, male and female, who go around in a house that was once theirs. The reason for being in the house is that they are searching for buried treasure. ”Whatever our you woke, there was a door shutting” (Woolf 41). The person that occupies the house hears the doors and windows opening and shutting, being well aware of the fact that there are ghost in the house but she is not scared of the ghosts causing harm to her. The ghosts fear that the couple now living in the house might have already found it. The ghost couple searches every single room of the house, going back and forth, double-checking everything. The climax of the story is when the ghost couple comes to the conclusion that the couple occupying the house has never found buried treasure and it could possibly be in the garden. The ghost couple also realizes that the treasure is actually safe and is still in fact theirs.

Finally, the author reveals that the buried treasure is “”the light in the heart”. Throughout the story, Virginia Woolf, uses the repetition of the words “here” and “it”. By using the repetition of the word “here” and “it”, Woolf emphasizes the significance of both of the words. The couple says “it” could be “here” in the book room, the drawing room and the upstairs. They also say if “it’s” upstairs or if they left “it” in the drawing room. This makes the reader start to question what exactly are the ghosts looking for and where did they leave it? The author also makes the reader wonder if “it” is “here” and if not “here” then where is “it”? When Woolf finally explains that “it” is “treasure”, the reader is led to imagine what kind of treasure are the ghosts looking for? In the last sentence when the author reveals that the ghosts were looking for “the light in the heart” and by this she was referring to a love that a partner can have for another partner.

Woolf reveals clues throughout the story by showing the reader the happy thoughts and love that the ghosts shared with each other. For example, “we slept here” and “kisses without number”. The story has a symbolic meaning to it because the treasure is not an actually tangible item, rather a symbol of love. Imagery is used in the story very often and is used for great effect by giving the reader a mental picture of what is being described and giving the reader the perception that Woolf desires for the reader. Examples of imagery in the story are abundant but a specific example is in the simile, “The doors go shutting in the distance, gently knocking like the pulse of a heart.” This puts the reader right in the story and allows them to see the doors shutting and the ghosts moving through the house. Just by the title, A Haunted House, the story makes the perception of the house seem that of an evil place. This shows the irony because both of the ghosts are the protagonists and throughout the story it shows the reader the memories of joy and love between the ghost couple. The irony of the story also helps in allowing the reader to understand the story’s theme, which is something is not always what it seems to be. In this story the ghosts are actually the protagonists unlike other stories where ghosts are seen as the antagonists.

 

 

 

Section 4
Conclusion

A haunted house by Virginia Woolf is a short story which is interesting and wonders the reader to read and read again until she or he get the point. It is interesting because no one can guess the meaning before she or he use close reading and looking for of the meaning of symbols which are appear in the short story. The reader will not satisfy until she or he get the point of the story. Although the readers have found the point of the story, it is amazing that the reader always want to read more and more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Section 5
Bibliography

http://sparknotes.com/
http://www.novelguide.com/index.html
http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/homework/l…
http://www.cliffsnotes.com/WileyCDA/
http://www.reviewsofbooks.com
http://www.bartleby.com/
http://www.shvoong.com/
http://www.gradesaver.com/
http://www.homeworkspot.com/


1 Komentar

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