The House of Dies Drear
by Virginia Hamilton
Analysis: Narrator Point of View
Who is the narrator, can she or he read minds, and, more importantly, can we trust her or him?
Third Person (Omniscient)
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 as in Thomas's. Occasionally, it even shows us things from the point of view of Mrs. Small, Mayhew, or Mr. Pluto. At one interesting point, the narrator seems to have a perspective all its own, outside of any of the characters. We're talking about when one of the Darrows sneaks through the mirror and into the house when the Smalls are sleeping that first night. The narrator tells us:
The thing was not the same as night. It was darkness detached from the black of the entranceway. It was solid, but it could move, and it did not hesitate. (8.81)
The narrator had to find a way to tell us that someone is in the Small's house while they sleep. Since they are all sleepy, and can't know what's going on, this part can't be from the perspective of any of them. Notice how the narrator makes things sounds creepy and supernatural – that's so the readers will stay in suspense until the characters find out what's going on.