The House Behind Analysis Essay example
In the short story “The House Behind” recounting a murder that took place between two houses, the author uses the motif of the trashcan, the distinct shift in residences’ behavior and smell imagery to explore its effect. Through detailing the increased anxiety between the pair of houses that differ socially and economically and residents’ deteriorating spirits, the author emphasizes the consequences an event can have on those involved.
The motif of the trashcan is symbolically used in “The House Behind” to express the growing unease between the house in front and the house behind after the murder. The narrator, a resident of the house behind, states: …show more content…
Other than the motif of the trashcan the author also identifies changes in residents’ behavior in the house behind to explore their loss of confidence after the murder. When noting the consequences of the murder the narrator says:
The older Lamartine sister, who used to keep her door open a crack and listen to conversations going on in the hallway— occasionally becoming so excited that she stuck her sharp nose in the crack and threw out a comment or two— was now (after the murder) no longer seen at all except on Sundays…mass with a blue veil thrown over her head. (3)
Evidently, because of the accumulative sense of inferiority that has always been felt by residents of the house behind towards those in the other house, “(they) all assumed responsibility for the crime”. This provoked the residents to “(lose) the last traces of (their) self respect before the people in the house in front” (3). And as a result, their pride was replaced with “faces gray with shame” (4). Their declining dignity made them “surly and mean”, and caused mistrust and uneasiness in the house behind. The author has adopted the idea of contrasting residents’ behavior before and after the murder to accentuate their sudden loss of self-respect and change in attitude towards other tenants. So it is seen through the