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Analysis

Literary Devices in The House of Dies Drear

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The symbol of the mask is closely associated with Mayhew Skinner. He's not just an actor by profession, but by way of life. He uses acting, or putting on different masks, to solve his problems and...

Setting

Dies Drear's house is a real piece of history. Even it's floor plan, with it's secret passageways, hidden rooms, and underground caverns, tells a story about the Underground Railroad and American h...

Narrator Point of View

The third-person narrator of The House of Dies Drear tells most of the story from Thomas Small's point of view. It also spends a fair amount of time in Mr. Small's head, though not nearly as much a...

Genre

Some historical fiction is set during an important moment in history. The House of Dies Drear is a little different. It is set during an important moment in history – the Civil Rights Movemen...

Tone

Virginia Hamilton, author of The House of Dies Drear, tackles a painful part of history, slavery in the US. Since her grandparents were slaves, and she heard stories about slavery from them, writin...

Writing Style

Thomas Small seems to think he's living inside a scary movie, and he kind of is, but not the way he thinks. Luckily, he's never in any real danger. But, since the story is mostly from his point of...

What's Up With the Title?

The title is a bit of a tongue twister, but it does sound scary, probably because it has the words "dies" and "drear" in it. Sounds like it's a house of dreary deaths, doesn't it? Well don't you wo...

What's Up With the Ending?

The House of Dies Drear has what's commonly known as a happy ending, for the most part. After the Skinners, the Smalls, and Pesty frighten the Darrows out of their wits, a couple of important thing...

Plot Analysis

Thomas has a dream.The story starts in the middle of the Small's drive from North Carolina to their new home somewhere outside of Columbus, Ohio. Actually, it's a scary dream, and it involves Thoma...

Trivia

Virginia Hamilton loved frogs. Click here to check out some frogs from her collection here.Hamilton loved riding on the information superhighway to learn how people all around the world were feelin...

Allusions

Paul Lawrence Dunbar, "We Wear the Mask" (14.3)Hades/ Pluto (2.52)Satan (5.72)Hymn 285 (10.62)Hymn 471 (10.80)Jesus (10.88)The Underground Railroad (throughout)Elijah Anderson (1.11) The Civil War...
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