The Haunting of Hill House

by

Shirley Jackson

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Mrs. Montague Character Analysis

Doctor Montague’s wife. Mrs. Montague joins the research team at Hill House nearly a week into their tenure there—she sweeps in with little regard for the delicate observations they’ve been doing so far, determined to contact the presence within Hill House through her planchette, an automatic writing tool. Mrs. Montague speaks of the presence that haunts Hill House as one or several poor souls desperate to have their stories heard—she turns a blind eye to the malevolence of the house, and in spite of her clear ignorance as to the truth of what resides there, she acts as if her word is law. Mrs. Montague clearly has great contempt for her husband, and for Eleanor, Theodora, and Luke, as well—her companion Arthur Parker is the only one whom she will allow to help her work.

Mrs. Montague Quotes in The Haunting of Hill House

The The Haunting of Hill House quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Montague or refer to Mrs. Montague. 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 7 Quotes

“I must say, John, I never expected to find you all so nervous," Mrs. Montague said. “I deplore fear in these matters.” She tapped her foot irritably. “You know perfectly well, John, that those who have passed beyond expect to see us happy and smiling; they want to know that we are thinking of them lovingly. The spirits dwelling in this house may be actually suffering because they are aware that you are afraid of them.”

Related Characters: Mrs. Montague (speaker), Doctor John Montague
Related Symbols: Hill House
Page Number: 135
Explanation and Analysis:

“Eleanor Nellie Nell Nell. They sometimes do that,” Mrs. Montague broke off to explain. “They repeat a word over and over to make sure it comes across all right.”

Arthur cleared his throat. “What do you want?” he read.

[…]

“Want to be home.”

“What are you doing here?”

“Waiting.”

“Waiting for what?”

“Home.” Arthur stopped, and nodded profoundly. “There it is again,” he said. “Like a word, and use it over and over, just for the sound of it.”

Related Characters: Mrs. Montague (speaker), Arthur Parker (speaker), Eleanor Vance
Related Symbols: Hill House
Page Number: 142
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

“And your night?” the doctor asked timidly. “Did you spend a—ah—profitable night?”

“If by profitable you meant comfortable, John, I wish you would say so. No, in answer to your most civil inquiry, I did not spend a comfortable night. I did not sleep a wink. That room is unendurable.”

“Noisy old house, isn’t it?” Arthur said. “Branch kept tapping against my window all night; nearly drove me crazy, tapping and tapping.”

Related Characters: Doctor John Montague (speaker), Mrs. Montague (speaker), Arthur Parker (speaker)
Related Symbols: Hill House
Page Number: 152-153
Explanation and Analysis:

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:
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Mrs. Montague Character Timeline in The Haunting of Hill House

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Montague appears in The Haunting of Hill House. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
Fear and Dissociation Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
...and thrilled by the previous night’s events, and says he can’t wait to tell his wife. Eleanor reflects on the previous night—though she remembers being afraid, she can’t “imagine” the sensation... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
Fear and Dissociation Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
...an island. The doctor says that the outside world will soon be coming to them—his wife, Mrs. Montague, is arriving the day after tomorrow to join the group. (full context)
Chapter 7
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
The Search for Home Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
It is Saturday—the day Mrs. Montague is expected to arrive. Eleanor goes alone into the hills, wanting to be alone and... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
Late that evening, Mrs. Montague arrives with her friend, Arthur Parker. Doctor Montague rushes to greet her, and excitedly introduces... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
...with a planchette or automatic writing in nearly a week. Montague tries to impress his wife by telling her about the cold spot in the nursery, but she is disappointed that... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
As Mrs. Montague and Arthur head into the dining room to fix themselves some dinner, she rails against... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
Sometime later, Mrs. Montague and Arthur join the group in the parlor, where they announce that the planchette has... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
Fear and Dissociation Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
Mrs. Montague pulls out some papers from her automatic writing session and reads them aloud. Apparently, the... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
The Search for Home Theme Icon
Fear and Dissociation Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
...that he will patrol the house with his revolver so that everyone can sleep soundly. Mrs. Montague assures the group that the spirits of the house want only to “tell their stories”... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
...where they can all keep an eye on each other. The group makes fun of Mrs. Montague for a moment, and then, sure enough, a crashing sound comes from the hall, blowing... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
...the window. Theodora is leaning over her, and Montague has been to check on his wife and Arthur, who are “sleeping like babies.” Eleanor asks what happened, and her mouth feels... (full context)
Chapter 8
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
The Search for Home Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
At the end of breakfast the next morning, the group worries that Mrs. Montague and Arthur, still sleeping soundly, will miss breakfast. Eleanor, though, assures them that their guests... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
Doctor Montague asks his wife how her night was—Mrs. Montague says she didn’t sleep a wink due to the air... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
...doctor tries to write his notes. She then creeps to the dining room door, where Mrs. Montague is conversing with Mrs. Dudley—who speaks to her pleasantly, despite having never engaged the doctor... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
...bird alighting on the roof. The only room she cannot hear is the library, where Mrs. Montague and Arthur are holed up, doing planchette. (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
Mrs. Montague bursts through the parlor door, incensed because she has not been able to get the... (full context)
Chapter 9
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
...finds the cold spot at the door has disappeared. Eleanor bangs on the door, and Mrs. Montague answers, telling “whatever” is out there to feel free to come in. Eleanor decides not... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
Mrs. Montague remarks that Eleanor’s “childish nonsense” has “destroyed any chance of manifestations” for the evening, and... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
The Search for Home Theme Icon
Fear and Dissociation Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
...Theodora’s clothes are “perfectly fine.” Theodora corroborates Mrs. Montague’s report. Doctor Montague speaks over his wife, apologizing to Eleanor for having to send her away. Eleanor insists she can’t leave, but... (full context)
The Supernatural vs. The Psychological  Theme Icon
The Search for Home Theme Icon
Mrs. Montague suggests someone should drive Eleanor home to the city, but Doctor Montague says that to... (full context)