Ghosts in the House
Virginia Woolf starts her story by giving us a picture of what the haunted house seems like from inside. There are ghosts in the house which mean no harm to the people living under that roof, however, despite the time one wakes up, the movements of the ghosts can be heard. They appear to be looking for a hidden treasure in the house. The narrator, due to her curiosity tends to find out what the treasure is and somehow, learns of the ghosts past. The ghosts were once people who were married, and after the death of the woman, the ghosts seek to be reunited to their loving relationship. It is their emotional treasure that they are trying to find. From the recap of the story, Virginia tries to bring out several themes that can be seen throughout the narrative including love, marriage and death.
Virginia portrays love as one of the main topics in her narrative. "Here we left it," she said, and he added, "Oh, but here too," the conversation between the ghost figures reveals their intention of searching for something (Kennedy and Gioia 385). The mystery in the search is in words like lost, and as readers on, one will tend to get the picture of something of value that they might have left behind. We gather later that the treasures being sought by the ghosts are their emotions. They are trying to rekindle their lost love life. After the death of the woman, the two ghost lovers can are separated. Virginia then portrays positive aspect regarding relationships in that; the two ghosts are trying to get back their lost love life. She implies that in as much as it may be lost in a living world, the relationship of two love birds can be carried on in the afterlife. The ghosts were seeing the love going on between the living couple. They try to rekindle it through them. Romantic love theme can also be drawn from the conversation "Kisses without number" as they use their hands to shield the lantern when gazing upon the love on the lips of the sleeping couple. The mystery of the ghosts buried treasure is prolonged. Virginia in the haunted house uses the spirits in the house to write in simplicity the importance of love.
Love and Marriage
Another theme Virginia touches in her story is death. In her work piece, she uses the glass to symbolize death. The glass that is between them illustrates the death that separates the couple. She mentions how the beam behind the glass was out of reach for the man. When the light fades, it symbolizes a fading moment, and darkness covers the entire place. It is due to this separation that the man tries to travel up and about but still comes back to the house because it had great memories of them. Death separated the couple, and the man is left trying to figure out how he will be able to reach the woman who is on the other side. Death on the living couple is illustrated on a positive note and can be seen where she talks about an empty house. From the readers perspective, one can connect the ghosts to death, but from her piece, the ghosts don't instill a death sentence on the house. In fact, they reassure one of safety from their statement, "safe" "safe" "safe." In fact, the ghosts are not threatening at all and don't instill fear (Kennedy and Gioia 397). Virginia here uses death theme to show the uncertainties in love life which however is a normal and ongoing occurrence in life.
A marriage which is closely related to love and death is another big theme that Virginia captures. A marriage which is an institution formed by love. Marriage in the haunted house is illustrated by the ghost couple who were married before death separated them (Kennedy and Gioia 411). She also carries on the theme through the living couples who have a feeling of joy and love the light in their hearts. It is through the marriage of the life couple that the ghost couples wish to rekindle their love life. Marriage, therefore, is based on love and also contains life uncertainties.
The major themes that Virginia portrays in the haunted house are interconnected; she finds a way of capturing the attention of her readers through her ideal choice of subjects which are love, marriage, and death. A marriage can't exist without love, and where there is love, death is an unpredictable expectation
Kennedy, X J, and Dana Gioia, Literature: an Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, New York: Longman, 2002. Print.
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