Study Guide

The House of Dies Drear Chapter 5

By Virginia Hamilton

Chapter 5

  • Thomas finds himself in the kitchen. Billy and Buster are at the table eating, and it smells like food.
  • His father says he didn't think Thomas would find the button on the door so soon. He explained that if bounty hunters or slave owners came looking for slaves, they could get underground through the veranda steps, or through the moving wall in the kitchen.
  • Thomas is disappointed that his father already knows about the tunnel.
  • Mrs. Small says that Thomas's yelling scared her. She gets him a plate of food.
  • Thomas explains that there was something under the house with him that made him afraid, something that wanted to get him.
  • His dad says he was probably just imagining things.
  • Thomas describes the sound he heard, but his dad accuses him of lying.
  • Thomas feels like he's about to cry.
  • His mother looks scared. He says it could have been Mac Darrow and Pesty.
  • When he tells them about Pesty and M.C. Darrow, his parents again accuse him of telling stories.
  • He explains, though, and they believe him.
  • Thomas tells them that the voice he heard wasn't that of a living person.
  • Mr. Small gets a flashlight and moves to investigate. Thomas wants to go with him, but his dad asks him to stay behind.
  • When he comes back he says he didn't find anybody or anything. Mrs. Small is relieved.
  • He wasn't able to find Thomas's flashlight, and he announces that he made it so the button wouldn't raise the step any more. He also removes the machinery that lets the kitchen door slide up. He tells Thomas he doesn't want him to go down there anymore.
  • Thomas is hurt that his father didn't just ask him not to go down there. He thinks his father discovered something and is hiding it.
  • Billy and Buster are confused about the sliding wall, and Mrs. Small picks them up to take them to bed.
  • Thomas isn't very hungry, and he asks his dad if he gets to have a room with a secret passageway.
  • Unfortunately, the answer is "no."
  • But, he's still excited to see his room, even though he's upset that Mr. Pluto is the one who arranged his furniture.
  • Now he asks his dad about the tunnels under the house.
  • Apparently there are many of them. Dies Drear designed them like a maze.
  • The slaves were lead to the exit by special signs and symbols.
  • Thomas hurries his meal and tells his dad he wants to look around outside.
  • Mr. Small wants to know what his big hurry is.
  • Thomas wishes he could say that he thinks his dad is hiding things from him, that he can see his dad is worried, and that he can see his dad doesn't like that Mr. Pluto arranged their furniture.
  • Instead, he begs his dad to let him go outside for a little while.
  • Mr. Small gives him an hour, warning him that it gets very dark, very fast here.
  • Not like in the South.
  • Thomas feels a pang of homesickness as he heads out to explore these new hills.