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~ 15 Minute Read

Rejecting Domesticity in Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House

Eleanor Vance, in her stay at the haunted house in Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, embodies the troubled protagonist of what critic Brittany Roberts calls the “domestic gothic fairy tale” (Roberts). Most of Jackson’s works fall under this sub-genre, but Hill House has the distinct effect of bringing the house into play as a representative of the domestic issues that were afflicting women of the Post-War era. It is an abstract portrayal of women’s idleness and lack of identity that was being protested across America due to the lack of avenues of growth open to them in their society. Eleanor’s odd-nature and undetermined identity signify crippling domestic issues of Post-War era America and its women, and her subsequent fall into a shared identity with the neglected and broken Hill House is representative of the malformed nature of the position of women in American society.

Eleanor was influenced by the house due much to her personal identity crisis she was experiencing after the death of her mother. Eleanor’s behavior became, from the onset of the novel, rebellious and erratic, much like that of an adolescent trying to find their identity when they recognize their independence. Jackson’s initial description of Eleanor and her hatred for her mother and sister is described as “eleven years she had spent caring for her invalid mother, which had left her with some proficiency as a nurse and an inability to face strong sunlight without blinking. She could not remember ever being truly happy in her adult life; her years with her mother had been built up devotedly around small guilts and small reproaches, constant weariness, and unending despair” (Jackson, 3). By this description, it appears that most of her adult life, and likely all her childhood, were spent in devoted attention to the health and wellness of her mother. Eleanor was thereby placed in the motherly role early on without being able to formulate her own identity. She was unable to experience a life after adolescence as her being shut into the home of her mother encompassed her only avenue for self-growth.

In her essay on Eleanor being caught simultaneously under the courtesy stigma and the caregiver burden regarding her dead mother, Marilyn Boyer states that during the fifties in America, “if you were physically disabled, you were kept indoors due to the extent of stigma and ostracism that came with the very idea of disability…In Hill House, then, Jackson’s exposition and emphasis are on the long range “courtesy stigma” that one who is physically disabled has in her association with her able-bodied caretaker who absorbs that stigma and is, in turn, also treated in negative ways, as most likely, her mother would have been. Consequently, Eleanor may be compelled to see herself in a distorted way” (Boyer, 148). Eleanor is forced into a role for a third of her life that revolved around understanding and caring for another’s needs incessantly. This pressed a broken identity onto Eleanor, despite her rejection of the character the identity came from. She internalizes the disabled mentality, even though she is able-bodied, which leads to her confused self upon release from the domestic prison of caregiving life. Her identity is therefore stunted, or disabled, leading Jackson to describe her state at the introduction of the novel as “Without ever wanting to become reserved and shy, she had spent so long alone, with no one to love, that it was difficult for her to talk, even casually, to another person without self-consciousness and an awkward inability to find words” (Jackson, 3). Eleanor’s consistent internalization of negative thoughts and remonstrances throughout the novel bear this same inability to connect with others that she never learned as a late adolescent turning adult. Her disability is found in her impressed identity, which was never allowed to form naturally because of the consuming infirmity of her mother.

The newfound freedom from the caregiver role gives Eleanor room to find her own identity, but with the voluminous gap in lost time from taking care of her mother, she isn’t equipped well to isolate a good sense of where to begin. Instead, with the invitation to Hill House, Eleanor finds a sort of relation to its design. In Brittany Roberts reassessment of Eleanor, she states that “Childhood, for Eleanor, was the last time that she was allowed to nurture a sense of self…The house's construction, then, in many ways mirrors the compartmentalization of Eleanor's own identity” (Roberts). Hill house is described by Dr. Montague as “every angle is slightly wrong” (Jackson, 77), which is much like Eleanor’s own mind. She was never allowed to fully develop as a woman of her society in Post-War America because she was locked away from it and malformed in development mentally. The house takes on a physical manifestation of her mental development. Every angle is off-set and warped, giving it a disoriented feel in a labyrinthian design. Eleanor’s identity is based in a cyclical idleness that circles back to her mother’s caretaking, which she reflects on often throughout the novel. Hill House has also been a sort of abandoned on the outskirts of a forgotten little town. The architect and first owner meant for it to develop into a grand home for show, but instead it became isolated because of its malevolent history and was left in idleness. It’s strange angles and general rejection from most anybody who sees it is something that Eleanor can easily associate with. Roberts continues this by writing “Hill House and Eleanor thus mirror each other: each is comprised of bits and pieces that have been subsumed by other elements” (Roberts). Their shared existence in general neglect from other people brings them together as one entity in mind, joining them by the end of the novel.

The failures of Eleanor’s broken family development fulfill some of the same failures that Hill House experienced. The house has never truly contained a nuclear family element inside of it, and thereby didn’t naturally develop as a standard family home should from the building’s inception. The death of the mother before she could even enter the halls of the house created an environment where the children were taught and cared for only by the house’s builder, who was a bit unhinged himself. The house wasn’t cared for by a housebound mother, so it was forced to endure a life under the strain of being malformed at birth. Hill House never truly formed into what it could understand as a well-rounded home. When Eleanor and the house finally come together, they are matching each other’s poor upbringing they find by a middle in relation over their deficiencies. Hill House desperately desires the care of a motherly figure, and Eleanor needs to discover a life of her own in owning and caring for something directly controlled by her own person. Eleanor feels a stake in the growth of the home as a person. They are a comfortable match for one another because they fill some the gaps that each other’s family units failed to achieve. They achieve a partnership by the end of the novel in their deficiencies, finding love in each other’s flaws.

Boyer comments on this friendship as being at the root of the novel’s purpose. She states “Fundamentally, this novel is about a search for companionship that is not forthcoming and leads to a shocking and irrevocable demise, as Eleanor takes her own life, rather than become walled up alive inside of a life with her sister, which would be reminiscent of a life with her mother, in that she would not be in control of her own existence” (169). The forced removal of this companionship from the house seems to be a recurring issue that leads to the death of these motherly and caring women who reside in the house. Sophia and her friend that lived with her experienced much of this same issue. Sophia was being constantly abused by her sister for the ownership of the home as her sister was attempting to force her out. For Sophia’s friend, the entire town rejected her ownership of the estate and led her to a suicide within the home. Eleanor was forced out because of the display she makes in her joining with the house, which her ‘family’ unit staying at Hill House fails to understand. This eventually leads to her suicide, or possibly the house forcing her death, in an effort to stay with Hill House forever. The women that Hill House chooses to remain under its care, the broken and rejected persons in their respective societies, are always taken from it upon the convalescence of their mutual acceptance of each other.

Hill House is often viewed in the manner of taking on a motherly role, but it effectively acts more child-like in its actions and demeanor, much like Eleanor....
I think this is something that everyone here should be interested in:

From the article:

Audible has a hard and fast rule: if you’re a publisher or writer who wants to sell your audiobook on Audible, you have to let it be wrapped in "Digital Rights Management," aka DRM: digital locks that permanently bind your work to the Audible platform.
~5 minute read

Link to the story as always! Let me know any further analysis you have in the comments!

Throughout the collection of Lovecraft’s works, there are a number of common items, but one shown most prevalently is his use of setting. “Rats in the Walls” falls under no exceptions to the weird norm set by his stories. Lovecraft utilizes the setting to control the narrative and orchestrate complex themes and tones for the reader, culminating in an ultimately grotesque ending.

There’s quite a bit of dramatic scene development through Lovecraft’s articulate use of language to describe the horrors at the ancestral home of Mr. Delapore: Exham Priory. The author painstaking lays out the landscape to the reader, displaying the home in an air of myth and horrid legend through the townsfolk. Their stories of evil happenings there, as well as Delapore’s incomplete family history, let the reader understand that actual unnaturally evil occurrences are to be expected in this story, though it doesn’t let on just how far Lovecraft is willing to go. Delapore discards most of the rumors and relies on the remodeling to cover up the aging gothic residence. But like the described repairs, the home is a mask that disguises the nature of what evil lies beneath its walls.

The story is a variable descent into madness, which Lovecraft facilitates through the draw and movements of the rats. Delapore is able to hear the rats, as he is one of the family’s descendants, and it drives him to madness to try and find the source of this every night. The author uses an overload of sensory imagery to develop the resounding dread from the protagonist, and envelop the audience in the gross feeling of being surrounded by thousands of scraping bodies in the walls. It is a sound of intense disgust and revulsion, one that should be avoided, but it draws the protagonist into his descent by leading him to the truth of the estate. The ghost rats are depicted as literal denizens of the underworld, with the cats being a classic medium for warning of evil lurking. The abundance of detail on Lovecraft’s part is what engages the reader to be able to visualize the scene, and he depends on it to develop the sense of foreboding. The reader knows the rats are wrong, and that the protagonist will be led to his doom by them, but the interest is enchanting for both parties. Lovecraft creates a variable cookie jar. The images mustn’t be touched, but the resisting is too much to bear.

These settings darken the deeper Delapore descends. Cracking open the Roman seal with the excavation and archaeological crew opens a gate to the evil realm. Lovecraft instills the sense of despair and horror in his gothic images of enslavement of all races over time, showing through the setting that the protagonist’s position is hopeless against the greater powers of the world. He is led deeper and deeper into the abyss by the guidance of the rats, and descends into full madness at the culmination of a loss of mind and the grotesque image of the character the reader has been following becoming the evil and voracious rats he was enraptured with. Lovecraft spares no detail to show the reader the hopelessness of the protagonist’s cause. Even though the reader may have the desire to try and align themselves with the inquisitive nature of the man, they know that there is no good from witness the descent. The deeper Delapore goes, the darker the world becomes, and the more he becomes the rats.

This extremely descriptive use of setting is central to the narrative because it mirrors physically the mental darkness that Delapore is descending into. The anger he has at the death of his son in the Civil War pours out in the end in a rage as he’s placed in the asylum. Darkness had been consuming his soul long before he moved to Exham Priory, and when he took it over, it drew him into the madness of the Hell below in a welcoming fashion. Lovecraft wouldn’t have been able to draw this same mirroring effect without the keen use of perceptive sensory detail that fleshed out his gothic scenes and lurid landscapes.
~ 5 minute read

Feel free to interact below! I would love to hear someone else’s interpretation of Jackson’s work. Link, as always, to a free read of the story.

Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” is an enormously de-centering narrative commenting on the classic notions of keeping to tradition, and the inherent flaw of blind faith. The driving influence for her message being so effective is how she designed the people of the village as characters, and their flat, even prideful, responses to a violent tradition because it’s simply always been.

Old Man Warner survived seventy-seven years of the lottery, and it’s all he’s ever known, year after year. When Mr. Adams talks to him about giving up the lottery, Warner responds with “Listening to young folks, nothing’s good enough for them. Next thing you know, they’ll be wanting to live in caves, nobody work anymore.” Through Warner’s dialogue, Jackson delivers Warner’s thoughts, which have invaded the minds of most the townsfolk. He’s proud of his background and how he was raised, and not willing to listen to new sensibilities. The younger generation with new ideas is a cancer to him, trying to break the traditions he was raised upon. Warner further knocks down the notion of ending the lottery by telling him and the reader that “There’s always been a lottery” and that the young generation is “a pack of fools.” Warner speaks for the community as the voice of wisdom in that the lottery is a good thing that needs to be accomplished for the greater good. Jackson uses his character as a base of understanding for the community on what’s sensible. As a reader from an outside perspective though, we are able to view the foolishness of his character’s blind faith.

This sense of “civic duty” towards the tradition is also emanated quite strongly through Mr. Summers, as he carries out the tasks of the lottery, though no one seems to be pleased by it in anyway except possibly the children who don’t know any better. Even facing the terror in Tess Hutchinson’s eyes as she argues the fairness of the lottery in Bill’s losing draw, he remains coldly ignorant and dutiful to completing the task. Jackson creates a sense of militaristic repetition in him, having him focused on completing the task every year, though the business lacks any real logical standing. It was simply as he has been doing until he is told not to, but Jackson’s voice of “reason,” Old Man Warner, objects to throwing out the lottery vehemently. He performs his duty with a deadened nerve to the families he’s breaking apart. This character in Jackson’s story is representative of leadership following a code of laws or ethics which have been handed down to them to protect, yet are blind to the purpose and ignorant to the negative effects in play. The message is carried through his actions and demeanor.

The rest of the town is much like a congregation of followers, not particularly knowing why they’re following, or even what exactly, but they do so out of a sense of responsibility to keeping to tradition. Jackson uses these brief character interjections to show the reader their reserved questioning of the practices, but also how they trudge on as sheep to the feeding bell of tradition. Jackson has the characters frequently talking to each other as if they just made it, or were afraid another wasn’t coming, much like would happen in a church congregation if the regular members didn’t show for a religious holiday. The author designs their responses to show they know they need to be there or the community may shun them for not keeping to the annual lottery. Though their presence may not be mandatory, it is certainly expected.

Jackson has these people fall into line and greet each other with a false sense of cheer, having them pretend to want to be there. Jackson also keenly orchestrates their demeanor after the victim is selected. The village acts as if their purging a loose end, or sacrificing a part of them for a better year. Bill tears the paper out of her hand to reveal the spot to the crowd without a second thought, not even any amount of comfort for his wife. The children are pleased it isn’t them. The cold atmosphere of the characters Jackson designed send the message and let it linger with the reader. They are like real people, going about their yearly business without a second thought. Jackson uses all of her characters, and their uniformity based on traditions of long-since past, to associate reality with the readers, and show them the results over time of blind faith. The characters develop the plot and themes through their design and lead the reader to understanding the dark ending and its larger implications.
~5 Minute Read

Feel free to read this very short story ahead of time here! 2500/Readings for English 2500/Hills Like White Elephants.pdf

In his minimalistic story, “Hills Like White Elephants,” Hemingway produces a compelling image and story grounded in realism through almost purely dialogue. He masterfully creates tension and drives naturally speech patterns for a character pair reaching the end of their relationship. The dialogue never directly states any of the conflict between the couple but infers their problems through unreliable speech and an argument over control.

This first thing to extrapolate from the speech is that it is likely about an abortion that the man is attempting to convince the woman to have. Hemingway gives the reader hints to this power struggle throughout. The man states that “It’s really an awfully simple operation, Jig,” clueing the reader in that he wants her to go through with an operation that she isn’t keen on doing. The woman also questions the man saying, “And if I do it you’ll be happy and things will be like they were and you’ll love me?” This implies that something happened between the two that’s causing concern for the man. The most likely thing would be that she was pregnant, and that he would like for her to have an abortion. The man spends the majority of the story trying different tactics in order to convince her, including heavily attempting reverse psychology. In fact, the reliability of what he says is often to be viewed as disingenuous.

Early in the story, Hemingway let’s the reader in on the man’s direction by showing the reader his ability to say whatever he thinks she wants to hear. After the girl asks him if her comment on the hills as bright, he agrees with her immediately just to keep her happy. But after she becomes pleased with herself and her comment, the man switches to talking about operation. Hemingway is clever in doing this because it is exactly like a man trying to convince a woman to get an abortion for a baby he doesn’t want. He tries to sneak it in after she feels a bit calmer with some alcohol and agreement. To Hemingway’s credit, this is an associable pattern of speech to the reader. The man is clearly pushing for the operation, as he says opposites such as “I wouldn’t have you do it if you didn’t want to. But I know it’s perfectly simple.” The woman understands this false direction behind his speech. She recognizes that the child is leverage she has on him, as he seems intent on leaving her after the operation. So, she plays along with his game in a manner of acting oblivious.

This is where the real power struggle comes in between the two, which is orchestrated entirely through a dialogue between the pair that plays out like a battle of wits behind words. A prime example of this parrying of blows starts off with the man saying that he “won’t worry because it’s perfectly simple,” implying that he is softening up the abortion process for the woman to make her feel more comfortable to get his way. Then she strikes back cleverly with the retort “Then I’ll do it. Because I don’t care about me.” Here the reader understand that she has the power because it is her body and choice. The woman knows how to push the man, so she puts the fear in him that she’s falling into a self-hatred cycle, which may cause her not to get the operation. His answer is expected and obvious: “Well, I care about you.” This allows her to play him right into the trap of “Oh yes, but I don’t care about me. And I’ll do it and then everything will be fine.” She’s shaming him in a way, since she knows what he’s up to. But they’re landlocked in the power-struggle. She wants him to love her and be with her, and he wants to leave. The unborn child is all that’s keeping them together, and they both know this. They play against each other in a verbal battle, but Hemingway cuts the reader out from hearing the actual outcome. For all the reader knows, it could have gone either way.

The beauty of this story is in its spoken complexity. Weight lies heavily behind the characters’ words and are filled with double meanings. Both are unreliable in literal speech, but fight viciously in a silent way in public. Hemingway masterfully conducts a dialogue for the reader that feels both completely natural and painfully articulate in laying out an unresolved conflict, almost purely through the way of spoken dialogue.
~5 minute read

As always, feel free to read the story at the link and let me know your own thoughts on it!

David Foster Wallace presents to the reader a clear picture of what’s going through a person’s mind in those tumultuous moments of introspection when they wait for a difficult reply from another in his short story “Good People.” Through an excellent use of descriptive prose, Wallace leads the reader to visualize the narrator’s internal struggle with his own motives and perceived direction, leading to a more composed understanding of what he really wants. The reader is let into the protagonist’s mind by Wallace at this point in the plot, despite never hearing the answer to the problem, or even the original question for that matter. The story gracefully slips in media res and turns back out precisely when the protagonist rounds in character and contemplates his own values more closely.

Wallace sets up his last few paragraphs where Sheri decides she wants to keep the unborn child, gambling on Lane being a good man to stay with her, by spending the earlier paragraphs describing the character’s positions. This works to give the reader a solid connection, and understand the difficulties in the issue of the pregnancy. In the description of their religious lives, Lane’s loosely held beliefs and Sheri’s perceived stronger version, also plays an important role in the introspection Lane experiences. He sees himself caught between the trouble about what he should do and what he wants to do. Wallace describes Lane’s failing faith by associable means, letting the reader know “he was starting to believe that he might not be serious in his faith. He might be somewhat of a hypocrite…he was desperate to be good people, to be able to feel he was good.” Through this description of Lane’s thoughts on his faith, Wallace digs in deep on the concept of blind fellowship and doing what the society around the character says he should believe. Lane is in this conflict of faith because he believed when it was convenient to, and now that something has come up where he would have to face a reality where he may be obligated to care for a child.

Wallace continues later with “he promised God he had learned his lesson. But, what if that, too, was a hollow promise, from a hypocrite who repented only after, who promised submission but really only wanted a reprieve?” This description of Lane’s internal faith questions is common, especially to those experiencing this trapped feeling of uncertainty in future and relationships. Wallace set up Lane’s character description as being well on his way in business degree work, and likely infers that this pregnancy feels like a weight he can’t handle. The question of abortion clearly occurred, and even appeared to be agreed upon only partly earlier, but up until the end where Sheri doesn’t want to do it, Lane argues internally why it needs to happen for him. He wants the abortion, or for the baby to simply be raised away from him for a break from what he perceives as a mistake, and to go back to his regular life. He even goes as far to convince himself that he doesn’t love Sheri, but by the end this turns around.

Wallace designs Lane’s character in a cowardly manner, as he tries most any way mentally to shut himself away from the pregnancy issue. Wallace describes his struggle as “two great and terrible armies within himself, opposed and facing each other, silent…seeing therein something so different and alien from themselves that they could not understand…opposed and uncomprehending.” This imagery of a battle is the simple metaphor for Lane of doing what is right, versus what is easiest. This imagined internal battle by design is meant to exemplify the change of heart that occurs within Lane by the end.

When he holds Sheri’s hands at the end of the story, he rounds in character, questioning his previous thought. Wallace writes “what if he was just afraid, if the truth was no more than this, and if what to pray for was not even love but simple courage.” Lane understands that what he needs to be is the good person Sheri gambles on him being. Simple courage. This introspection and realization on Lane’s part, created by Wallace for the reader, drives the purpose of the story. All this lack of faith and fear of the unknown was just childish notions and dreams passing, and that courage is what he needs to face the issue and solve it accordingly; not for himself or the society around him, but because he is the good person he wants to be. Wallace creates through description a sort of inner morality question and finds its resolution through identifying Lane’s problem all along: courage.

Works Cited

Oates, J. C., & Wallace, D. F. (2013). Good People. In The Oxford Book of American Short Stories (pp. 816–822). essay, Oxford University Press.
~ 4 minute read

Set in the not-so-distant future, Bradbury’s pot-apocalyptic short story “There Will Come Soft Rains” paints the reader a narrative of the fall of man through the life and death of a home in automation after the nuclear holocaust. The author cleverly infuses key details in his setting in order to develop his narrative plot and message through inference and imagery, setting the pacing to that of the clock times, in reference to the Doom’s Day clock, which stumble towards the inevitable destruction of life.

Throughout the beginning of the story, Bradbury paints the house as a living ecosystem, though it is full of automation. This hits the reader on a few different levels, and lets them in on not only the environment, but also kicks off the central metaphor. He uses the technique of a slow realization for the reader, implementing strange images over common items at first to make the reader understand that the environment is both futuristic and able to grasp, yet lightly off-putting. An example of this would be “Eight-one, tick-tock, eight-one o’clock, off to school, off to work, run, run, eight-one! But no doors slammed, no carpets took the soft tread of rubber heels.” Here the reader starts to understand that the house is operating alone. Bradbury cleverly uses the reverse of action, the emptiness to set the tone of the work. Soon after, the reader is let in on the ecosystem within, a mirror of the natural set through robotics. “Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted. The rooms were acrawl with small cleaning animals, all rubber and metal.” The creatures are keeping the house in order and maintaining the natural rhythm of life in their ecosystem. This builds on the living metaphor of the house, but also clues the reader into what kind of future technology is present. Bradbury views the progress of man as reliant on the strict scheduling and assistant direction of machines they created. The contrast lies in that the house is devoid of real life, yet teeming in that which had been created.

Inference and realization are critical to understanding the post-apocalyptic world that Bradbury creates. Gradually, the reader comes to understand not only that the house is empty and alone, as the previous quotes assisted with, but that the humanity is indeed exterminated. Bradbury writes “At night the ruined city gave off a radioactive glow which could be seen for miles.” The reader comes to realize that the world underwent a nuclear holocaust, and that the environment within this home is all that is left standing. Everything living seems to be dead or dying. When the dog enters the scene, Bradbury describes it as “once huge and fleshy, but now gone to bone and covered with sores.” This implies that there is little left alive for the dog for food, and that it is undergoing the extreme effects of radiation sickness. When it dies, the robotic mice clean it up quickly, and the last of life disappears from the story. This theme of dispersing death, and disappearing from existence is prominent throughout the story, stemming from the setting. Early on we see it applied to first the humans, but then all life through the dog. The latter half of the story removes that of the automatic house and its ecosystem of robots, completing the image full-circle in death.

Bradbury turns his setting against itself to drive home the theme of death in the story by the second half. The fire in the home, and the devolving cries of the various robots within the ecosystem as they collapse, affirm the destruction of life in totality from the nuclear war. The author creates action by destroying the setting without ever attaching the reader to a singular character. The setting is the character, and wall the “living” components of the structure make it come alive to the reader, so when it is destroyed, the reader feels for the setting itself. The death of the home is the end of life on the planet. The house is subjected to personification to enhance this effect. The last line cries out in finality the date in which life finally ceased to exist “Today is August 5th, 2026,” and the reader know that it was man’s squabbles the led to the death of life on the planet, complete eradication by that date.

The author’s story finds its power through the setting alone, without the use of characters at all. The house is personified, and though humanity is since gone, it carries a life of its own. But through a simple error, the entire microcosm burns in an instant, much like that of humanity. Bradbury’s setting is the story, and it drives the narrative and provides action in it’s own progression through the doomed clock of a single day.

You can read the story online from this link: Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury.pdf

Let me know your thoughts and analysis of it as well!

Works Cited

Oates, Joyce Carol, and Ray Bradbury. “There Will Come Soft Rains.” The Oxford Book of American Short Stories, Oxford University Press, 2013, pp. 476–481.
This will be half a rant, half my experience with research - and the way confirmation bias can lead to missing information.


I visited the village of Austerlitz a few months ago, now called Slavkov u Brna in the Czech republic. An international Napoleonic research fund maintains a cozy museum dedicated to the battle of Austerlitz, and there is of course a beautiful memorial seated right close by - at the Pratzen heights, where the coalition's leadership formed their ranks and where they made one of the biggest blunders in military history, costing them over 30,000 soldiers slain or captured, and eventually the whole war.

My fascination looking down from the hill wasn't only with the beautiful and vivid Czech villages that sprung up and developed in the area, but with the sheer scale of the battle. I have read dozens of descriptions and accounts of the battle, and even as the landscape changed clues of the old age were there: the distant estate in Sokolnitz with its (largely abandoned) gardens, the buildings of Brünn (Brno) on the horizon - I couldn't see the fabled Satschan pond as it had since been devoured by irrigation and the many corn fields its waters likely fed.

There was a scale to it; a scale I couldn't understand or feel right when reading those accounts or when glaring at maps.

The importance of the landmarks mentioned bore a special historical interest to me; it was Sokolnitz where Marshal Davout's III. Corps deployed during the battle and managed to push the coalition forces back, eventually into the fabled lake - reputedly its ice broke under the weight of French shelling, hundreds of soldiers drowning in its icy waters.

The heroism of the Marshal's Corps is one of those historical details often glazed over, for good reason: it's a detail that completely undermines popular / orthodox perception of early modern warfare with a conundrum researched in-depth by scholars to this day. The III. Corps was ordered to force march from Vienna to Austerlitz and join the battle. They did so in under 48 hours, deploying soon after - and while doing so, they covered a whopping 120km (75 miles) on foot, a feat seldom replicated in history as it's a far stretch even for modern infantry - the infamous Falklands march of the Royal Marines took a heavy toll on them despite being 2/3 a length, and despite them having one additional day to cover the distance.

Seldom replicated, except for the exact same time period - over, over and over again. In the autumn of 1806, Prussia caught Napoelon by surprise with a war declaration and an invasion launched. Opting to go on the assault, the French gathered what troops they had available in the theater for a counter attack and 19 days after the war declaration they entered Berlin, triumphant. Such velocity of action has been wholly unheard of and still baffles me; a campaign covering a larger distance than Germany's 1939 invasion of Poland, much faster and without machinery, motorization and airplanes - with soldiers on foot & horse. Similar feats achieved by the British troops in Spain, by Russian troops in 1813, by the French in Italy, by Austrians in 1809...

Far from a coincidence or isolated examples, but again - glazed over. I have read dozens of "worldbuilding resource" articles that dealt with advice on writing troop movements and armies. They each had one nefarious detail in common:

The missing Napoleon.

Why, though? Is it ignorance / lack of knowledge about the period? Or it might be easier to simply glaze over the Napoleonic wars / early modern warfare when writing these articles, as otherwise the author would have to insert a whole chapter on explaining why Napoleon's time had things different. This in turn has led to a whole in most of these articles. I ended up with a rule-of-thumb: whenever I open something of the like, I search the page for some quick references and if there's a Missing Napoleon, I take it with a grain of salt. You'd be surprised how many there are.

Wouldn't it benefit an article detailing troop movements or armies to dedicate at least some word to armies marching without a supply train? To cascaded movements? To discuss amphibious warfare and its roots? To detail rocketry, early terror bombing, ambulances, military organization, etc.?

The phenomenon is not unique to Boney; I have been trying to keep an eye out for specific details of the kind; topics within greater research that are contradictory to the mainstream /but/ are very much relevant and often glazed over. So sorry, no non-eucledian Geometry here. There's many, but they're hard to find - specifically due to the Missing Napoleon - how do you catalogue and learn about something that is baseline omitted from articles for being contradictory?

There's of course articles that specifically say "Hey, this is usually glazed over, but HERE" - I enjoy those, a lot to learn about Victorian times - tattoos, mannerisms, extreme sports, etc. It's how I originally learned that the Regent of Hungary, Miklós Horthy, had a gigantic golden-green dragon tattoo decorating his body. Then there's of course the fabled discussion on "Ramming", the practice of driving one military vehicle into another. Hot topic for tanks, interesting for airplanes and completely historical & plausible for ships, even in examples such as the USA's Civil War. Often we perceive "ramming" reserved to ancient warfare's triremes.

Napoleon hits close to heart because it's a favourite topic of mine, but also a period of history in which I'm immersed to a degree that permits me to shoot "Actually"s in discussions over politics and military. And that's pretty much how I learned of the Missing Napoleon.

Do you know any other topics of the kind? Where the mainstream is contradicted by a specific time period, a specific country or set of events - to the point people rather glaze over it than expand into a deeper explanation?
The layout of printed books is fixed so the number of words and their arrangement on a page are the same for every reader: same font, same font size, same margins. But the layout of an e-book is fluid so that text and graphics can be adjusted to fit the available screen space and user preferences. The result is that the number of words and their arrangement on a screen might not be the same for each reader.

This fluid layout has little effect on prose but can cause problems for poetry. The one that poets are most concerned with is that some lines will wrap at the edge of a screen and continue to the next line, making a line you intended to be one line become two lines. You could avoid that problem by not crafting poems with long lines, of course, because where and how lines break matter less than where and how a poem touches the hearts and minds of your readers, but here is what they’ll see if your formatting does not accommodate lines that exceed the width of their screen.

And here's what your readers will see if your formatting does accommodate long lines that exceed the width of a reader's screen.
The example above was accomplished with a hanging indent that wraps long lines with an indent, so readers know you intended those lines to be single lines on their screens. And it works regardless of the font size your readers select, or whether their device is in portrait or landscape.

Microsoft Word's hanging indent is selectable. In Open Office, you can create a hanging indent style with a positive Before Text Indent and a negative First Line Indent. In the Atlantis word processor, you can create a hanging indent style with a zero Left Indent and a positive First Line Outdent. When typing your poems into your word processor, use hard returns at the end of each line. Soft returns will indent every line after the first line, not just long lines. And that will confuse readers as to which lines you intended to be single lines. Below is the result of using soft returns with a hanging indent instead of hard returns.
After you've formatted your chapbook for long lines, put a note in the Introduction that tells readers what to expect when an end-stopped line is too long to fit on one line of their screen.

Dear Reader.jpeg
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