House of Stairs Literary Qualities

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The plot of the novel contains a few brief flashbacks, but it is largely linear, moving forward in time. The climax occurs at the end of the book. Readers join the well-developed adolescent characters in unraveling the mystery of the house of stairs. The characters continually face what seem to be hopeless situations, creating a strong element of suspense. The adversity that the characters face brings out every aspect of their personalities—strengths and vulnerabilities.

The frightening experiment performed on the characters, which is fully explained at the story's end, symbolizes a society that places too much emphasis on obedience to authority. People who think for themselves and trust others are labeled misfits. Sleator's work gains its power through a vivid and unrelenting portrayal of a frightening society full of ironic contradictions, as well as through strong dialogue, complex characters, and a suspenseful plot full...

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This section contains 152 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Buy the House of Stairs Short Guide
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House of Stairs from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.