Eleanor Vance

A thirty-two-year-old guest at Hill House and the novel’s protagonist, also referred to as “Nell” and “Nellie.” Eleanor has no friends, hates her recently deceased mother and her sister, dislikes her brother-in-law and niece, and has never been happy in her adult life. After being her invalid mother’s sole caretaker for eleven years, she now lives with her sister’s family. Eleanor often escapes reality by retreating into her mind and constructing fantasies, and these details often find their way into tales of her actual life and cause her viewpoint to be unreliable.


An artist, shopkeeper, and guest at Hill House, also referred to as “Theo.” Theodora is independent, curious, quick-witted, and strong-headed. Though she is warm and inviting when she befriends Eleanor, at times she becomes cold, mean, and spiteful, especially when she is hungry, bored, or not properly admired. She doesn’t use her last name and insists that she is just Theodora. She has been invited to Hill House because of her psychic abilities.

Dr. John Montague

A doctor of philosophy and man of science with intense interest in the analysis of supernatural manifestations. Dr. Montague is short, round, and bearded. He considers himself careful, conscientious, and of above average intelligence. His vanity leads him to conduct the study at Hill House and publish a book so that he will be respected by his colleagues and gain fame for his findings.

Luke Sanderson

The future heir of Hill House and a participant in Dr. Montague’s study. Luke is well-educated and well-dressed, though he is selfish and is known to be a liar and a thief when his laziness doesn’t prevent it. He is a quick-witted flirt and uses biting humor to casually insult others. Luke has been asked to Hill House to oversee the study on behalf of his aunt, the house’s current owner.

Mrs. Montague

Dr. Montague’s wife and fellow paranormal investigator. Mrs. Montague is overbearing, demanding, and condescending. She insists on using investigative techniques her husband doesn’t believe in, and she constantly challenges him to prove her wrong. She regularly seeks confirmation of her statements from her companion, Arthur, and treats Luke as if he is a servant. Her husband considers her to be a good wife, though she makes him visibly weary. Though she is grating to others and is vicious even in her compliments, she strongly believes in offering love and sympathy to the spirits she communicates with.

Arthur Parker

A headmaster at a school for boys and Mrs. Montague’s companion. Arthur rules his schoolboys with a heavy hand and spews toxic masculine ideals, though he is obedient and agreeable in service of Mrs. Montague. He speaks in short, opinionated clips and becomes flustered by female attention. Arthur describes himself as a meat-and-potatoes man who doesn’t drink, smoke, or read trash.

Mrs. Dudley

The cook of Hill House and wife of the property’s caretaker. Mrs. Dudley follows a rigid schedule, which she repeats to the guests daily, and she refuses to wait on people or to stay at Hill House after sunset. She is mostly silent and often sullen as she prepares three meals a day for the Hill House guests.

Dudley, the caretaker

The caretaker of Hill House and Mrs. Dudley’s husband. Dudley’s demeanor is dark, unwelcoming, and arrogant. He has wide, blank eyes and a malicious grin.


A controlling, belittling person and Eleanor’s sister.