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It sat alone.
What happened there is still today unknown.
It is a very mysterious place,
And inside you can tell it has a ton of space,
But at the same time it is bare to the bone.
The poem 'The House on Elm Street' is a recollection of the poet's memory of a house that carried a spooky aura to it.
Do you remember the time when you were curious about the little things around you? When big buildings, shadows and rocks trigger your interest to create stories around them? Have you ever huddled together in a classroom with your best friends listening and sharing ghost stories?
Childhood is the best time of one's life, as it is the time when one's head is brimming with creativity and questions. We try to connect the dots and spin yarns around simple things. We read adventure and mystery stories of authors like Enid Blyton and R.L. Stine and place ourselves in the situations. The poem does not mention that the narrator is a child anywhere. But the curiosity that is triggered and the thoughts that follow can make us consider the angle that it is narrated from a child's point of view. This view can take a philosophical turn towards the end of the poem.
House that stands alone
The poet starts by instilling suspense in the reader, the first line starts as 'It sat alone'. The pronoun 'It' could denote a lot of things. But the tone gives an eerie and suspenseful outlook. The poem itself unravels the theme and concept as a mystery. As the readers read the first three lines, they are curious, just like the poet herself is throughout the poem. The poet creates more tension by saying that what happens there is still unknown today. This helps unravel the fact that the 'it' denotes a place. The third line confirms the fact as she says it is a mysterious place. Now that the mood of the poem has been set, she proceeds to add more information on the place. She describes it as a spacious place. Usually, mysteries and suspenseful events unfold in big mansions and bungalows, as there is space to create tension within. She makes sure to mention that although there is space, no one lives in it, and it is isolated. She aptly describes it as 'bare to the bone', giving it an eerie touch. By now the readers understand that the place is an enclosed space like a house or building. The first stanza thus instils a tone of peculiarity.
Bare house from inside
Meaning of difficult words:
MysteriousDifficult or impossible to understand
Ton of spaceLot of space
Bare to the bonesReduced to only essential elements of something
RecollectionRemembering something
SpookyScary or ghostly
AuraThe atmosphere or energy that surrounds a place or person
State Council of Educational Research and Training 2019. Term 1 English Standard - 10. The House on Elm Street - Nadia Bush (pp. 202 -204). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.