Study Guide

The House of Dies Drear Exploration

By Virginia Hamilton


This book appeals to our sense of adventure. It has action, mystery, disguises, underground caverns, a house with hidden passageways, moving walls, and retractable front steps, not to mention treasure. The House of Dies Drear is all about exploring history, nature, and imagination. It's also about exploring a new town and being the new kid in town. The new kid in question, main character Thomas Small, is incredibly curious – curiosity is a must for the successful explorer. His curiosity gets him into a few tight spots. But, the experiences he has and the things he learns make it completely worth it.

Questions About Exploration

  1. Who is the most adventurous character? The least?
  2. Why does Thomas want to explore the new house and the land?
  3. Does Thomas discover anything that scares him?
  4. Is Thomas's exploration dangerous? Why or why not?
  5. Can a person be too curious? Why or why not?
  6. Are there some secrets that should never come out? If so, like what? If not, why not.

Chew on This

Thomas's adventurous spirit helps him learn the truth.

The story shows how the spirit of exploration helped people running from slavery find freedom.