In the novel, House of Sand and Fog, the author Andre Dubus develops the idea that individuals are constantly struggling to balance their external and internal demands. The Most common external demands that individuals have is the desire to achieve a loving marriage, own a home, have a decent job that provides respect, to be financially stable and to be proud of oneself, within family and community. On the other hand, the most common internal demands are to have happiness, love and strength to cope with problems that arise in life. The main idea that connects the three characters in the novel is their drive to achieve comfort and personal well-being. They desire home, family and security but their choices led to disaster and a tragedy. The title house of sand and fog foreshadows the turmoil that will take place because fog symbolizes confusion and the potential danger as it causes to lose sense of direction and causes a lack of clarity which leads to wrong choices which will eventually result in a disaster. Sand is found under the sea, and goes from one place to another because it doesn't have one fixed place just like how there is no fixed owner of the house as it changes with time. Sand is very irritating and abrasive in texture and this relates to how the house causes irritation and discomfort to the character. House symbolises a place that provides protection to human beings and keeps family united. We can clearly understand that if a house is of sand and fog; the house will not provide protection in fact it will give the opposite to the people that live in it because sand can be seen as something that is not united because it is in pieces, just like how the character in the family don't relate to one another and are drifted apart by their lack of confusion which is caused by their mental “fogginess”. Human beings have complete potential to pursue their personal well being by maintaining a balance between their internal and external demands.
One of the character in the story is Kathy who is seen as a desperate character that wants to find the comfort of home and family. She is emotionally unstable, neglectful woman who is evicted from the house she inherited from her father because She failed to read her letters from the government that had said they were going to put up her house for auction. Later in the story we found out that she was mistakenly charged for unpaid taxes. The reason that could've caused this incident is that Kathy internally was dealing with turmoil because her husband left her so she couldn't rely on her judgment or take decision to achieve the happiness that she desired and to make her situation worse she had to deal with the external demands of the society. Loss is the driving factor in the life of Kathy for instance she was left by her husband, had to overcome drug addiction, and now her house was lost to Mr Behrani and we can anticipate that the house meant so much to her that she was seen stubbornly clinging to it. When Kathy talked about the house; majority of the time she addressed the house as an “house” and not a “home” and this reinforces that deep down she knows that the house had no meaning to her and she treated it as any other building in the world. The house only provided her protection from the society because it was a place where she can be hidden and be “private” but we know that a house is a place where individuals live together and bond with family and friends and Kathy was totally opposite of that. After the house was gone she was completely shocked and wasn't in the right state of mind to deal with the problem properly and as a result her problem became big. Her emotions spiral out of control and her actions sparked a tragic chain of events that left no one in the house of sand and fog because if she had checked the mail initially this would have never taken pace. She began her long legal journey to get her “house” back, whereas Behrani family had begun to create...
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