Study Guide

The House of Dies Drear Religion

By Virginia Hamilton


Religion is very important to many of the characters in The House of Dies Drear. It's where they connect with others and where they take part in community activities. For other characters, the church is a scary place, where people are cruel and heartless. Ohio, where the story is set, has a rich church history. Here are some links to denominations of Christianity mentioned in the story: African Methodist Episcopal Church; African Union Baptist Church, Presbyterian Church.

Questions About Religion

  1. What religion do the Smalls practice?
  2. What does Mac do in the church? Pesty?
  3. How does Thomas feel about going to church? What was his old church like? What does he expect his new church to be like?
  4. Why does Thomas want black people and white people to go to the same church? Why does Mr. Small think there should be separate churches? (See the beginning of Chapter 10.)
  5. What was the role of the black churches in the Underground Railroad? How would you research this question?
  6. Does the idea of the devil in The House of Dies Drear have anything to do with religion?

Chew on This

By showing Thomas the white church and telling him he can go whenever he wants, Mr. Small is letting Thomas find his own way of practicing religion.

The most important thing about church to Thomas is the social aspect.