The short fictional story “The Haunted House” by Virginia Wolf tells us about the search of a treasure by a ghostly couple in the house which they owned once. The story is about the eternal love that defies death, a commitment that binds two people even after death though the title of the story suggests otherwise. The story is narrated in first person and has a spooky vibe to it.
The use of words like “you” allows the readers to experience what the narrator is experiencing in her house. Likewise the word “It” for the treasure makes the story mysterious. In the beginning of the story seems like a usual scary movie but as we dive deep into the story we find out that the intentions of the ghost couple is not to hurt anyone or disturb their human counterparts. The hidden treasure that the ghost couple is seeking later turns out to be the love moments that the couple once shared in each and every corner of the house. By returning to the house every night they are trying to relive those memories. The writer has made use of lots of similes and metaphors to spark the reader’s imagination of the house and ghost couple.
The ghostly couple have human counterparts too who are the present owners of the house and they are aware of the presence of the ghostly couple but somehow they are undisturbed by this knowledge. The house owners seem to be more curious about the treasure that the ghostly couple is seeking. In the story the writer has treated the house and the tress as people with the similar feelings as the human. Like humans they are too curious about the explorations of the ghostly couple. The writer has personified the house with the sentences like “safe, safe, safe” the pulse of the house beat gladly. “The Treasure yours”. Similarly the wind and tress have also been personified in the story by sentences like “Wind roars up the avenue. Trees stoop and bend this way or that”. This personification technique provides a supernatural vibe to the story. A particular phrase “safe, safe, safe” has been repeated over and over in the story. It describes the mood of the house when the ghostly couple is searching for their hidden treasure. At first the house says it softly as the couple is still searching for their moments in the house. As the couple start discovering their moments the mood the house becomes different each time this word is repeated. The heart beats proudly then gladly and wildly at last. The use of such repetition has given a mysterious vibe to the story and clarified the intention of the ghostly couple.
The house, trees, wind and even the present owners of the house seem to be in sync with the ghostly couple. All seem be relieved by the discovery of the hidden treasure by the ghostly couple. By moving through every corners of the house the couple relive the time where they once shared their beautiful moments of life. Even death couldn’t tear them apart. Their eternal love is admired even by the current owner of the house. Rather than being alarmed by the presence of the ghost in their house, they seem to enjoy the fact the deceased sprits have found their love.
This story to some extend reminds me of the movie “BeatleJuice” where Michel kiton as Beatlejuice, a scary ghost comes in rescue of the deceased sprits couple who are constantly disturbed by their human companion who currently own the house. Though the mood of these two situations is different but they can be correlated in the sense that in both the story and the movie, even death has become unable to separate the lovers apart.
Through the story eternal love has been expressed. I have always craved for that kind of love in my life where the two people in love can’t walk away from each other and their love will bind them together in afterlife too. This story is about finding your soul mate and a commitment that is stronger than death. We humans run after the materialistic pleasure our whole life. We spend our whole life trying to earn a living but we forget to live and spend time with people we love. The infinite hugs and kisses that we shower upon one another, those long walks we take with our loved ones are our real treasure. We tend to ignore these little things when we are together but once we have lost our loved ones, these are the things we will miss the most and no any money in the world will be able to give us those moments back.
· Woolf, Virginia. “A Haunted House: And Other Short Stories”. London: Hogarth Press, 1944. Print.
· Beetlejuice, Tim Burton, The Geffen Film Company, 1988, Film
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