The Haunting of Hill House

by

Shirley Jackson

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Luke Sanderson Character Analysis

A rakish young man, a liar, and a thief who stands to inherit Hill House from his aunt, its current owner. Doctor Montague’s lease on the house carries the stipulation that a member of the family must be present during his tenure there—Luke, a young rascal with an impish curiosity about the house, tags along and soon realizes he’s gotten much more than he bargained for. Luke reveals himself to be a handsome lush with an almost bewilderingly positive attitude and a joke always at the ready. Theodora and Eleanor find themselves competing for Luke’s affection and using it against each other, even as the romantic undertones in their own friendship seem to be the real root of their animosity towards one another. Luke is clearly rattled by the things he experiences within Hill House, and, because he stands to inherit the house himself one day, it’s obvious that he processes his experience of the “haunting” through a very different lens than the other characters. Still, Luke uses humor to lighten the mood every chance he gets, and he rarely lets his terror get the best of him. At the end of the novel, Luke moves away to Paris.

Luke Sanderson Quotes in The Haunting of Hill House

The The Haunting of Hill House quotes below are all either spoken by Luke Sanderson or refer to Luke Sanderson. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of The Haunting of Hill House published in 1959.
Chapter 3 Quotes

When they were silent for a moment the quiet weight of the house pressed down from all around them. Eleanor, wondering if she were really here at all, and not dreaming of Hill House from some safe spot impossibly remote, looked slowly and carefully around the room, telling herself that this was real, these things existed, from the tiles around the fireplace to the marble cupid; these people were going to be her friends.

Related Symbols: Hill House
Page Number: 42-43
Explanation and Analysis:

The doctor sighed again. “Suppose,” he said slowly, “you heard the story of Hill House and decided not to stay. How would you leave, tonight?” He looked around at them again, quickly. “The gates are locked. Hill House has a reputation for insistent hospitality; it seemingly dislikes letting its guests get away. The last person who tried to leave Hill House in darkness—it was eighteen years ago, I grant you—was killed at the turn in the driveway, where his horse bolted and crushed him against the big tree. Suppose I tell you about Hill House, and one of you wants to leave? Tomorrow, at least, we could see that you got safely to the village.”

Related Characters: Doctor John Montague (speaker), Eleanor Vance, Theodora, Luke Sanderson
Related Symbols: Hill House
Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:

“Certainly there are spots which inevitably attach to themselves an atmosphere of holiness and goodness; it might not then be too fanciful to say that some houses are born bad. Hill House, whatever the cause, has been unfit for human habitation for upwards of twenty years. What it was like before then, whether its personality was molded by the people who lived here, or the things they did, or whether it was evil from its start are all questions I cannot answer.”

Related Characters: Doctor John Montague (speaker), Eleanor Vance, Theodora, Luke Sanderson
Related Symbols: Hill House
Page Number: 50-51
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

“We must take precautions,” he said.

“Against what? How?”

“When Luke and I are called outside, and you two are kept imprisoned inside, doesn’t it begin to seem”—and his voice was very quiet—“doesn’t it begin to seem that the intention is, somehow, to separate us?”

Related Characters: Doctor John Montague (speaker), Theodora (speaker), Eleanor Vance, Luke Sanderson
Related Symbols: Hill House
Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

“When I am afraid, I can see perfectly the sensible, beautiful not-afraid side of the world, I can see chairs and tables and windows staying the same, not affected in the least, and I can see things like the careful woven texture of the carpet, not even moving. But when I am afraid I no longer exist in any relation to these things. I suppose because things are not afraid.”

“I think we are only afraid of ourselves,” the doctor said slowly.

“No,” Luke said. “Of seeing ourselves clearly and without disguise.”

“Of knowing what we really want,” Theodora said. She pressed her cheek against Eleanor’s hand and Eleanor, hating the touch of her, took her hand away quickly.

Related Characters: Eleanor Vance (speaker), Doctor John Montague (speaker), Theodora (speaker), Luke Sanderson (speaker)
Page Number: 117-118
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

She heard the little melody fade, and felt the slight movement of air as the footsteps came close to her, and something almost brushed her face; perhaps there was a tiny sigh against her cheek, and she turned in surprise. Luke and the doctor bent over the chessboard, Arthur leaned confidingly close to Theodora, and Mrs. Montague talked.

None of them heard it, she thought with joy; nobody heard it but me.

Related Symbols: Hill House
Page Number: 167
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

Dancing, the carpet soft under her feet, she came to the door behind which Theodora slept; faithless Theo, she thought, cruel, laughing Theo, wake up, wake up, wake up, and pounded and slapped the door, laughing, and shook the doorknob and then ran swiftly down the hall to Luke’s door and pounded; wake up, she thought, wake up and be faithless. None of them will open their doors, she thought; they will sit inside, with the blankets pressed around them, shivering and wondering what is going to happen to them next; wake up, she thought, pounding on the doctor’s door; I dare you to open your door and come out to see me dancing in the hall of Hill House.

Related Characters: Eleanor Vance (speaker), Doctor John Montague, Theodora, Luke Sanderson
Related Symbols: Hill House
Page Number: 169
Explanation and Analysis:

“Go away, Eleanor, you can’t stay here; but I can,” she sang, “but I can; they don’t make the rules around here. They can’t turn me out […]; I won’t go, and Hill House belongs to me.”

With what she perceived as quick cleverness she pressed her foot down hard on the accelerator… [...] I am really doing it, she thought, turning the wheel to send the car directly at the great tree at the curve of the driveway, I am really doing it, I am doing this all by myself, now, at last; this is me, I am really really really doing it by myself.

In the unending, crashing second before the car hurled into the tree she thought clearly, Why am I doing this? Why am I doing this? Why don’t they stop me?

Related Characters: Eleanor Vance (speaker), Doctor John Montague, Theodora, Luke Sanderson
Related Symbols: Hill House
Page Number: 181-182
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Haunting of Hill House PDF

Luke Sanderson Character Timeline in The Haunting of Hill House

The timeline below shows where the character Luke Sanderson appears in The Haunting of Hill House. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
The Search for Home Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
...friend, with whom she quarrels terribly shortly before departing for Hill House for reasons indefinable. Luke Sanderson is a liar and a thief, and the third person confirmed to visit Hill... (full context)
Chapter 3
The Search for Home Theme Icon
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...he will stay forever. Eleanor finds the flirtatious comment “silly.” The man introduces himself as Luke Sanderson, and Eleanor recognizes by his last name that he is a member of the... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
The Search for Home Theme Icon
Doctor Montague, Eleanor, Theodora, and Luke retire to the dim, firelit study, where Luke fixes them all drinks. Doctor Montague makes... (full context)
Fear and Dissociation Theme Icon
Luke suggests the four of them get acquainted with one another. All four begin self-consciously and... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
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...house than any of the others—he promises to tell them his mission tomorrow, in daylight. Luke, Eleanor, and Theodora demand to know the story of Hill House, but Doctor Montague is... (full context)
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...was able to do so only under the provision that a member of the family, Luke, accompany him. (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
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...she ever send anyone to burgle Hill House. At the conclusion of Montague’s horrible tale, Luke remarks jovially that he thinks they’ll all be “very comfortable here.” (full context)
Chapter 4
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
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...they get to the first floor, they have to try several doors and call for Luke and Montague before they open the right one and find the men inside, eating at... (full context)
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...away, the tower would still stand. Eleanor is lost in thoughts of the tower when Luke comes up behind her and warns her to watch her balance—Eleanor realizes she has been... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
In the hall, the group reunites. Luke admits that he is decidedly not looking forward to inheriting Hill House. Montague leads the... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
...the group retreats to the parlor, which they have been working to make cozier. As Luke and Theodora converse lightly and jokingly, Eleanor cannot shake a sense of dread. Montague notices... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
Fear and Dissociation Theme Icon
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...hollow pounding noise grows closer, and Eleanor believes she can hear the distant sounds of Luke and Doctor Montague calling her name. As the knocking grows louder, Eleanor runs to the... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
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...bed as the cold dissipates. The episode is over, and they can hear Montague and Luke calling for them down the hall. Theodora opens the door for them; Luke cheerfully greets... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
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...much noise against the door to Theodora’s room could not be heard by him or Luke—they only came back inside when they heard Theodora and Eleanor shout. The doctor wonders if... (full context)
Chapter 5
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
The Search for Home Theme Icon
...refrain “Journeys end in lovers meeting” fills her head. Eleanor hears Theodora calling flirtatiously to Luke from her room, and then hears Theodora knock on her own door. As Theodora enters... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
Fear and Dissociation Theme Icon
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...Eleanor race laughing down the stairs to the dining room, where they greet everyone happily. Luke, too, is in a sunny mood, and only Doctor Montague looks drawn and tired. Despite... (full context)
Fear and Dissociation Theme Icon
...They retreat to the parlor, but the doctor has a hankering for coffee, and sends Luke—who, he believes, Mrs. Dudley must regard as her future “master,” to ask her to put... (full context)
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Just a few moments later, Luke bursts back into the parlor, white-faced and grinning. He urges everyone to come into the... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
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...them so far. The next morning, the group’s third morning in Hill House, Montague and Luke try to measure the cold spot while Eleanor and Theodora take notes for them. After... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
...far enough into the room to see what it says. Eleanor suggests they call for Luke and Montague; Theodora implies that Eleanor is responsible for the damage, asking if she doesn’t... (full context)
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...all her clothes are torn and stained with blood. Eleanor calls calmly for Montague and Luke, who come upstairs to find Theodora sobbing and kicking on the floor of her room... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
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Isolation Theme Icon
Eleanor urges Montague and Luke to take Theodora into Eleanor’s own room to get her away from the horrible smell.... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
The Search for Home Theme Icon
Fear and Dissociation Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
...muses on the nature of fear—Montague posits that people are only afraid of themselves, and Luke adds that what people truly fear is seeing themselves “clearly and without disguise.” Theodora, sitting... (full context)
Chapter 6
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
The Search for Home Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
The next day, Eleanor, exhausted and pale, sits beside Luke outside on the steps of Hill House’s smaller, adjoining summer home. They are having a... (full context)
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Later, back inside, Luke presents the group with a book he has found in the library—a book made by... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
The Search for Home Theme Icon
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While Montague and Luke play chess, Theodora teases Eleanor about whether she’ll invite Luke over to her apartment after... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
Fear and Dissociation Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
...themselves back at the house. They crash through a back door into the kitchen, where Luke and Montague are waiting for them. The doctor says he and Luke have been searching... (full context)
Chapter 7
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
...Parker. Doctor Montague rushes to greet her, and excitedly introduces her to Theodora, Eleanor, and Luke. It is after dark, and Mrs. Montague chastises the group for not waiting for her... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
...going right.” When she orders Arthur to go put the car away in the garage, Luke warns her about their policy of not going outside at night, established after Eleanor and... (full context)
Isolation Theme Icon
Luke, Theodora, Eleanor, and Doctor Montague gather in the parlor, and the doctor begins explaining how... (full context)
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...their separate rooms, but Theodora tells Eleanor to wait a minute and to not get undressed—Luke whispered to her earlier that the original four are to meet in the doctor’s room.... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
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As the noise recedes, Luke offers everyone some brandy. They all accept, and Eleanor sips nervously, believing they are only... (full context)
Chapter 8
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
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...pestering Theodora, who suggests they go for a walk to get out of the house. Luke offers to come with them. Theodora suggests Luke accompany her, and Eleanor stay home to... (full context)
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As the path narrows, Eleanor takes the lead. As she walks, she believes Theodora and Luke are talking nastily about her behind her back. She grows lost in thought as she... (full context)
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After lunch, Luke and Theodora spend some time outside together laughing in the grass. Eleanor follows them but... (full context)
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Later that evening, Luke compliments Theodora on how fine she looks in Eleanor’s clothes. Eleanor sits quietly alone, listening... (full context)
Chapter 9
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
The Search for Home Theme Icon
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Eleanor hears Theodora calling for her, and then shouting to Luke and Doctor Montague that she’s gone missing. Eleanor runs back down the stairs, hearing the... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
The Search for Home Theme Icon
Fear and Dissociation Theme Icon
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...the staircase carefully—it has rotted away from the wall, and is in danger of collapsing. Luke begins carefully climbing the stairs to try and get Eleanor down. Eleanor is very close... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
...nonsense” has “destroyed any chance of manifestations” for the evening, and hurries back to bed. Luke calls Eleanor an “imbecile” for climbing the stairs, and the doctor agrees. Theodora, too, chastises... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
Fear and Dissociation Theme Icon
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...that Theodora is wearing her red sweater. Doctor Montague tells Eleanor that she has to leave—Luke is going to bring her car around, and Theodora is going to pack her things... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
The Search for Home Theme Icon
...way home—Eleanor only laughs in response. Theodora goes upstairs to pack Eleanor’s things, and orders Luke to go get Eleanor’s car. (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
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...and his party vacate Hill House. Theodora returns home to her apartment and her roommate. Luke goes to Paris to stay a while with his aunt, the house’s owner. Doctor Montague... (full context)