Writing Techniques in House of Sand and Fog

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House of Sand and Fog is not a novel of initiation. It is a tragedy, a novel about the destruction of decent but flawed people with basically good intentions and normal desires. Their weaknesses of temperament, judgment, and emotion are those that most readers will identify with and thus feel pity and terror—to use Aristotle's terms— emotions the arousal of which by the force of the narrative will lead to catharsis. Life is lived linearly but understood recursively.

Therefore, one may say, Dubus tells his story in a focused, linear fashion but makes it make sense and persuades us of its truth by using flashbacks to anticipate a character's decisions and choices that lead to his or her entrapment and to allow the dramatic impact to build inevitably. While the nature of their entrapment can be partially understood in terms of social issues and concerns...

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This section contains 959 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the House of Sand and Fog Study Guide
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