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Themes

The House of Dies Drear features a house that may or may not be haunted. Some of the characters believe in ghosts; some of them don't. Some aren't sure. Virginia Hamilton, the author, seems to invite each reader to decide. It's like she wants us to weigh in on how we feel about ghosts and other supernatural beings. She also asks you to look at the bad things that can happen when humans accuse other humans of being supernatural creatures.

Questions About The Supernatural

  1. Do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not? Does Thomas believe in ghosts? Mayhew? Mrs. Small? Mr. Pluto? Mr. Small? Find some passages in the text to support your answer.
  2. Now, you be the questioner. Ask a bunch of people if they believe in ghosts, or if they've ever seen a ghost. Can you connect their answers with anything that happens in the story?
  3. Does anything happen in the story that could be supernatural, or is everything that seemed supernatural explained?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The House of Dies Drear uses the possibility of the supernatural to build suspense and drive the plot.

The story leaves open the possibility that ghosts could exist.

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