Frank E. Peretti Writing Styles in House

This Study Guide consists of approximately 49 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of House.
This section contains 920 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)

Point of View

This novel is told from the third-person point of view an omniscient narrator. The narrator follows all of the main characters, along with the Tin Man, who is the villain of the novel, at some point in the book. As these four players in the Tin Man's game are separated at different points in the novel, the narrator is able to record what is going on with each group of characters even when these actions occur at the same time.

The story is told through both exposition and dialogue. The conversations between characters as they try to determine how they should react to the things that are happening around them are important to the novel as these conversations show the changing attitudes they have toward each other. These conversations also show how drastically different the characters are reacting to the stress compared to one another. On the other hand, it is important that the thoughts of each character are known to the reader because without having this glance into the private thoughts of each character, the reader would have no idea who is thinking of killing who and what the motivation behind their thoughts is. These private thoughts also give the reader an idea of the way each individual is reacting to the house and the individual terrors that it holds for them.

Setting

The majority of the action in the novel takes place in an abandoned house located in the backwoods of Alabama. The only other settings beside the abandoned house include a stretch of Highway 5 where Stephanie and Jack have their two encounters with Officer Lawdale. Lawdale directs them onto a gravel road that is supposed to be a shortcut to Highway 82, but it is on this road that the tires of their car are slashed by a spike strip. It is on this back road that they see advertisements for the Wayside Inn, which turns out to be an abandoned, haunted house in which Jack and Stephanie, along with another couple, are trapped the remainder of the evening.

The setting of the novel is the old abandoned house that draws Stephanie, Jack, Leslie and Randy to it with its promise of being an inn. The house, however, has been possessed be a demon by the name of Barsidious White, who is able to change the floor plan of the house, as well as the appearance of the house and grounds at will. When Jack and Stephanie first approach the house, it appears to be an impeccably kept bed and breakfast. The interior is impeccably clean and beautifully decorated. Things become sinister, however when the group is lured into the forbidden basement, which is a maze of ever changing rooms and halls and locked doors. The basement of the house represents the hidden thought life of people. While they keep the main portions of their houses, or lives, the parts that others see clean and neat, their basements, representative of their hearts, are often full of dark and evil thoughts. Once the group of visitors emerges from the basement for the first time, they see that the house has changed and has taken on its true nature as a dirty and abandoned old house.

Language and Meaning

The language of the novel makes it highly engaging and easy to read. The reader is caught up in the action of the novel because of its suspenseful nature and it is often difficult to stop reading. One of the elements of the novel that add to its suspenseful meaning is the way the writer uses words and images that have multiple meanings to tell a story that is highly allegorical. The writer tells the story of salvation through a house, representing a person, that is filled with evil, in the form of demons, evil people, etc. The only way for the house, and the people inside it, to be freed from their demons is to accept the light that comes from Susan, the guiltless sacrifice. In the end, the light cleanses not only Stephanie and Jack, but also the house of the evil that has overtaken them all.

Structure

The novel is divided into forty-three chapters plus a prologue. The prologue sets the reader up for the fate of Stephanie and Jack and also sets an eerie and suspenseful tone as a backdrop for the beginning of the novel. The chapters are of varied length, with some as long as sixteen pages and some as short as one page. The average length of a chapter is eight pages. Each chapter is headed with a number designation. All but seventeen chapters also include a designation that indicates what time in the night the action is happening. The book covers a span of slightly more than thirteen hours, but nearly the entire last half of the book focuses on the last two and a half hours that the couples spend in the house. The last quarter of the book focuses on the final hour in the house.

The book has only one main plot, but this plot is not simple as there are many levels on which White's "game" can be interpreted. It is the classic story of good and evil played out in an arena where the forces of evil seem to have complete control over the outcome of the game. The game can be interpreted at face value as the demented game of a serial killer/demon or as a retelling of the story of salvation.

This section contains 920 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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