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"A House Is Not a Home", a story written by Zan Gaudioso, reflects the narrator's initial experiences in his senior high school. The narrative emphasises the value of interacting with others and making an attempt to learn about new people.
In junior high school, the narrator was the student leader, and as such, he had the honours and respect that come with being the senior-most class leader. As a result, starting from scratch was extremely tough and unusual for the narrator. Junior high schools have classes until the tenth grade, whereas senior high schools have classes until the twelfth.
The new school was double the size of the old one, and to make matters worse, his closest friends had been enrolled on other schools. It made the narrator feel extremely lonely because he had no one with whom he could share his new experiences and who could accompany him.
The narrator felt so lonely and powerless in an alienating environment (new school) that he wished to return to his old school and meet his old teachers. In his old school, his teachers would always encourage the narrator to engage in school activities. In that way, he could quickly meet and interact with new people. This indicates the narrator's attachment to his old school.
Also, his old school teachers had already told him that he would soon develop to like his new school members. The narrator also felt the same way as they assured the narrator that he would quickly get adjusted to the new school environment and attached to it. They also told him that he would begin to like his new school to his old one.
In general, 'change is the only constant on Earth.' A change may also occur for a better purpose. It all relies on how we use situations to our advantage. So, rather than finding fault with anything that changes, we should think positively and be optimistic.
The narrator was also reminded by his teacher's words, in which they made the narrator promise to return to his former school even if he liked his new school more in the future. The author realised why such a promise was made: his previous teachers were attempting to persuade him that the new school would be great for him. Even though he knew the reason, he felt at ease when he heard those comforting words.
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The narrator
Despite the narrator's dislike for the new high school, he had no choice but to continue his studies there. Days passed. It was one Sunday afternoon. At the dining-room table, the narrator was doing his homework. Since the day was cool and windy, a fire was stoked by his mother in the fireplace. On top of the sheets of paper, the narrator's favourite cat slept. It was the narrator's only pet. It purred and pounded on his pen for no apparent reason other than to entertain itself. Generally, cats purr when they are happy. It might be because the cat was so happy to be with his master.
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The narrator's worry
The narrator had rescued the cat when it was young, and the cat was so grateful to him that it never left his side after that. His pet cat was also a favourite of the narrator's. According to the narrator, it remained close to him while he protected it. Despite the happenings at his new school, the narrator's source of happiness was spending time with his beloved cat. A horrible incident awaited to occur in the narrator's home on that Sunday afternoon.
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The narrator's cat
The narrator's mother had stoked the fire to keep the house warm and comfortable because the day was too chilly, but this developed into a major disaster for the narrator's family as mentioned earlier. Suddenly, the narrator became aware of a problem within his home.
The fire in the fireplace quickly spread, and smoke billowed from the ceiling, filling the entire room. Smoke was everywhere in a matter of seconds, and they couldn't see anything. When the narrator and his mother realised what was going on, they rushed to the front door and ran into the front yard. The roof had caught fire, which quickly spread. The narrator rushed to the next-door neighbours to call the fire service, but the narrator's mother ran back to their house. When the narrator saw his mother running towards the house again, he was taken aback.
The narrator's mother had went back into the burning house for a reason. She made such a daring attempt to save some of the important documents from being destroyed by the fire, knowing full well that the fire could spread and destroy the entire house. She emerged from the room, holding a small metal box containing critical documents. She rushed back into the house again after dropping the metal box in the yard.
Since the narrator's father died when he was young, she was forced to collect his photographs and letters, which were his only memories. Even yet, when the narrator's mother entered the house, the narrator was scared and screamed at her to leave the burning house. The firefighters arrived near the narrator's house. Fearing for his mother's life, the narrator attempted to bring her back but was stopped by a firefighter.
On the street, there were numerous fire trucks parked. The narrator tried to free himself by explaining that his mother had gone inside the house and that he wanted to bring her back.
The firefighter was holding the narrator's hands so tightly and wouldn't let him go because he knew the narrator would rush inside to look for his mother at any moment. He was well aware that the narrator was overwhelmed with emotion and wasn't thinking clearly at that time and that he was going to put his own life on the line to save his mother. Furthermore, the narrator acknowledges that the firefighter was correct in that he would flee if the firefighter did not hold his hands since he was so concerned about his mother's safety. Other firefighters entered the burning house to assist the narrator's mother. The firefighter who was holding the narrator assured him that the other firefighters would assist his mother in rescuing her.
The firefighter wrapped the narrator in a blanket and forced him to sit in his car. A fireman emerged from the burning house, with the narrator's mother alive. Despite the fact that she was alive, the fire smoke she ingested made it impossible for her to breathe properly. The narrator's mother was taken to the fire truck and given an oxygen mask by the firefighter. The narrator ran up to his mother and hugged her by the shoulders. When the narrator saw his mother saved, his heart broke with joy. The possibility of losing his mother drove away all the unpleasant sensations he had against his mother.
Despite his joy at seeing his mother alive, the narrator was concerned about his mother's condition. The narrator had already lost his father. He can't afford to lose both his mother and father. His mother was his sole source of support.
The firefighter assuaged the narrator's fears by assuring him that his mother would be okay. He told the narrator that his mother had breathed smoke and that the first-aid they had given her would help her recover quickly.
After convincing the narrator, he rushed into the house to extinguish the flames, leaving the mother and son puzzled about the chaotic situation. The narrator and his mother had no clue how things had turned so much worse in a matter of minutes. The narrator recalls feeling helpless as he watched his house burn and was helpless to prevent it.
The fire was put out after nearly five hours. The fire had destroyed the entire house. A new thought had suddenly struck the narrator. It was about the narrator's cat, which went missing during the fire accident in his house. The narrator recalls it being on the dining table when he was doing his homework. He had no idea if it was caught and died in the horrific fire or if it had escaped.
The narrator then began to cry. He cried because he was having problems adjusting to his new school, the house fire, and the loss of his pet cat. He thought he was having a run of terrible luck, with too many unpleasant things (losses) happening all at once.
As it was extremely risky, the narrator and his mother were not allowed to enter the building. Despite having to depart, the narrator was concerned about his cat's condition. The narrator's heart ached to find about what had happened to his cat. He was concerned about his cat's condition, therefore it didn't matter if the news was of its death. Nonetheless, he had to depart from there.
When the narrator and his mother got into the car, they didn't have any belongings. Everything had been ruined by the fire. The firemen had offered them a couple of blankets. With that, the narrator and his mother drove to his grandparents' house to spend the night.
The next day of the fire accident, the narrator went to school. It had been a Monday. He was very upset since he felt his entire life had been ruined since starting at his new school. His only issue at first was adjusting to the new environment. But then his home was destroyed, as was his beloved pet cat. He couldn't figure out why he was having such a hard time in his life.
Most individuals, when something awful happens, tend to link following events to it and get concerned about why everything is going so terribly.
At the time of the fire, he was wearing the dress that he wore to the church on Sundays. He was not wearing his shoes. He had removed them and kicked them off when he sat to do his homework. They were burnt in the fire too. So, the narrator borrowed tennis shoes from his aunt. He did not want to go to school. But his mother forced him to go. He was embarrassed because his clothes were unusual, he did not have his school bag, books and homework notebooks. He thought that God wanted him to live like a person who was different from others and did not fit well into society.
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The narrator's new school
The narrator was so upset that he wished to die, as he found it too hard to handle such an awkward situation.
The narrator says he went to school the next day after the fire disaster and strolled about the school like a zombie. A zombie is a person who has lost their will to live and is unable to communicate. It is a living corpse raised via the use of supernatural techniques, such as witchcraft. Also, the narrator called himself a zombie as zombies are afraid of fire, and he moved around the school unconsciously without thinking about what was happening around him.
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The Zombie
The narrator says that he wandered around the school like a lifeless, uninterested individual. He was upset as his things, old school, old friends, pet cat, and home had all been taken away from him. In addition, he already felt alienated in his new school surroundings, and he was dressed differently in a sports shoe and no school bag. Also, for children, their school bag is very important because it contains all of their personal, secret, and favourite items, which they would never want to lose. The narrator, too, was saddened by the addition of losing his school bag and his pet cat.
The narrator walked through the burnt house on his way back from his new school and was shocked to see the amount of damage caused by the fire. Things that weren't burned were ruined by the water and chemicals used to put out the fire. The papers, photos, and some personal belongings that the narrator's mother had rescued were the only things that were saved. The narrator had also lost his pet, which hurts him more than anything. Whatever the case may be, life must go on. The narrator didn't even have time to worry about his cat as he needed to think about how he and his mother would restart their lives. They needed a place to stay as well as clothing and other basics.
The narrator detailed his family's helplessness, describing how they had to rebuild their lives after losing everything in the fire. They were unable to support themselves since they lacked the necessary resources. They didn't have credit cards, cash, or any other kind of identity to withdraw cash from the bank. Everything was consumed by the fire.
Workers began removing the burned remnants of the house after a few days. The narrator's family had rented an apartment close by, but the narrator would sometimes go back to his old house to see the workers. He wished he could locate his pet cat. Despite the fact that his cat had been missing for a month, he kept thinking about it. He always wished his pet cat would come back to him.
Often the narrator was reminded of the sweet days he spent with the cat as whenever the narrator disturbed the cat, it would wake up, follow him, climb up his robe, and fall asleep in his pocket. The narrator yearned for his pet cat.
Despite a financial problem, a difficulty adjusting to a new school environment, and his house being burned down, the narrator constantly yearned for his cat to return. This represents his loving and caring personality.
The narrator believed negative news would spread faster than positive news. It's because everyone from the narrator's new high school, including the teachers, heard about the terrible event (fire disaster), even though the narrator didn't say anything about it. The narrator felt embarrassed as if he was responsible for everything that had happened. He despised attracting such unexpected (negative) attention from the new school. The next day at school, it felt even stranger. Students and teachers acted strangely.
People crowded around the narrator as he prepared for his gym class and rushed him to the class. On the other hand, the narrator remained unaffected, despite it appearing strange that people were suddenly around him and conversing with him. He was very vexed due to the recent past week's instances in his life, so the narrator would not be surprised by anything. Also, the author assumed that the other students were pushing him to get ready for gym class as soon as possible. The narrator finally realised why he had been hauled to the gym class after having reached the class.

The narrator noticed a table set up within the gym class with all of his necessities. It seemed the other students had bought the narrator school supplies, notebooks, all kinds of different clothes — jeans, tops, sweatsuits. The narrator appeared to be having a Christmas day as he received gifts. The narrator was overwhelmed by the schoolmates' love and generosity.

People who had never spoken to the narrator in the new school before introduced themselves to him. The narrator was even invited to their homes. The narrator was touched by their lovable collections and heartfelt words.
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The narrator's new friends
The narrator had been feeling estranged from the new high school for the past few weeks, believing that no one was speaking to him. This must have caused the narrator to avoid interacting with the other pupils or to move away from them.

The narrator's perception that the new school was devoid of his former school classmates and teachers might have caused him to hate it. He did not make any effort to make new acquaintances at his new school since he was still grieving the loss of his previous school. And it had to be when others went forward to assist the narrator that he realised his error. His heart was touched by their selfless love and care.
After all of the chaotic, terrible events that had occurred in his life, the narrator finally drew a sigh of relief since something wonderful had occurred for the first time. The narrator made friends on that day. He hoped that everything that had gone wrong thus far would turn around for the better.
The narrator quickly made a considerable number of friends. One day, the narrator was standing in front of his house as it was being rebuilt. Since he had friends, he had two with him at that time. It wasn't like this before a month. He lacked a friend and hence found it difficult to adjust to his surroundings. However, things changed significantly after the narrator's house caught fire. The fire was a "blessing in disguise." The narrator's negative feelings of insecurity were completely gone, and there was a shift in his character as well, as he began to open up to everyone around him. He no longer saw his new high school as a hostile environment but instead accepted the change and socialised with everyone. He recognised that, just as his home was being renovated, his life was being rebuilt as well.
Someone approached the narrator from behind and inquired if the cat she was holding belonged to him while he and his friends were sitting on the pavement planning a new bedroom. When he turned around, the narrator was taken aback. Yes. It was his beloved cat. His beloved, adoring, and long-awaited cat had returned. The narrator had hoped that his cat would return one day, and he was right. After a month, it was a day unlike any other. He grabbed the cat from the woman and cried while holding it close to him. After a month, the cat was also overjoyed to see and join the narrator. It purred happily. The narrator's friends were happy as well, hugging and jumping about with the cat and the narrator.
The narrator understood what had happened during the fire disaster and how the cat had gotten away. The narrator's pet cat could have been scared by the fire and fled almost a mile away from his home during the fire accident. Despite the fact that their phone number was printed on her collar, their phone had been destroyed in the fire, and the lady was unable to reach them for the past one month. She used the phone number to track down their address and eventually found them. Her tremendous effort made the narrator's cat reach him finally. Since the woman recognised that the cat was missing its master and was sad, she made an attempt to take it to the narrator, believing that the cat's master would also be concerned about the cat. Thankfully, the narrator's family had left a phone number on the cat's body, which came handy.
Earlier, the narrator had begun to believe that he was encountering bad luck one by one, but things had changed significantly following the fire disaster. His cat had also returned to him after a long absence, which was the ultimate cause of his grief and that had been changed. He was grateful for a new life that had brought him new friends, as well as a kind woman who had returned his pet cat. He was given a fresh start in his life. When his house caught fire, the narrator did worry more about his cat than his house since he believed it was only the concrete structure that had caught fire and could be constructed again.
The title "A House Is Not a Home" was now understandable to the readers. A 'house' is a location where people live, but a 'home' is a location where people dwell with love and care for one another. When the narrator's house burned down, it was only a concrete structure (residence) that was destroyed, but the love he had for his mother, cat, and his old school friends remained. And no amount of flames could put out that love. His hope and compassion for his cat finally brought him back to the narrator. With the return of his cat and new schoolmates, the narrator realised his house was no longer a house but rather a home.