Mrs. Montague's words are often dripping with dramatic irony. She wonders if "Perhaps tonight there will be some manifestations" (153), which is certainly an understatement given what happens with Eleanor and the tower parapet. There have also been "manifestations" almost from the moment the four arrived, yet Mrs. Montague cannot see that.
Mrs. Montague on the Haunting of Eleanor
After witnessing Eleanor almost kill herself in the library tower, Mrs. Montague sniffs, "This childish nonsense has almost certainly destroyed any chance of manifestations tonight, I can tell you" (174-75). Ironically, she is witnessing the haunting of Eleanor; the house has come alive through her. Mrs. Montague cannot see that the house is demonstrating its power through Eleanor as well as Eleanor demonstrating her psychic distortions and ability through the house.
There is a deep and pervasive irony in that Eleanor spends her whole adult life caring for her suffocating and demanding mother only to think she is free and then end up in a demanding and suffocating house that embraces her like an oppressive mother would. She thinks she has autonomy yet she falls back into a pattern of letting herself dissolve.
It is ironic that Eleanor runs her car into a tree just like the last person who tried to leave Hill House and also crashed their carriage into a tree.
The Haunting of Hill House Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Haunting of Hill House is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.