There’s Someone Inside Your House

by

Stephanie Perkins

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There’s Someone Inside Your House: Chapter 23 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Katie Kurtzman is doing laundry and staring at an empty can of tuna fish on the sill of her basement’s only window. The window is broken and won’t latch properly, leaving a gap wide enough for a thin body to slip through. Her twin siblings claimed they had nothing to do with the can. Her mom doesn’t know where it came from, either. Katie feels paranoid. She can’t help but feel that somebody has been in the basement. Upstairs, the twins, Leigh and Clark, are reading comics. Katie prepares mac and cheese for their dinner. Katie’s mom, a nurse, leaves for her 12-hour shift at the hospital. She makes Katie promise not to open the door for anybody while she’s gone. 
The empty tuna fish can should stick out to the reader—David Ware taunts his victims before he attacks them, rearranging their belongings and leaving things in unexpected places. Thus, it seems likely that David left the can at the window to confuse Katie—suggesting that another slaying will happen shortly. Katie Kurtzman seems to be a nice, friendly, and responsible kid, so David’s reason for messing with her could be to destroy the sense of control Katie thinks she has over her life. It’s not yet clear if Katie has secrets, or is an overachiever like the other victims.
Themes
Inner Change  Theme Icon
After Katie’s mom leaves for work, Katie goes into the bathroom and discovers that all the toiletries are in the wrong place. She’s scared, having heard rumors that David would mess with his victims’ personal belongings before he attacked them. This time, Katie knows it’s not in her head. Katie’s mom has claimed that Katie has obsessive compulsive disorder. Katie denies it, but she knows it’s true. She has a busy, stressful life between work, school, volunteering, and college applications—all geared toward getting out of Osborne. Cleaning and organizing make her feel more in control. As Katie reorganizes the bathroom, she hears a thud downstairs. She calls down to the twins, but they have no idea what it could have been.
If Katie has heard rumors that David messes with his victims’ personal belongings before he attacks them, it raises the question of why she doesn’t trust her gut feeling that somebody has been in her basement. Katie has multiple traits in common with David’s other victims. First, she’s concealing something that she’s ashamed about (her obsessive-compulsive traits), seemingly out of fear that people will judge her for them. Interestingly, Katie doesn’t quite fit with Makani’s theory that David is targeting bullies, so perhaps this isn’t quite the right angle. Another way that Katie is like David’s other victims is that she’s ambitious, driven by a fierce desire to leave Osborne. If Katie does end up becoming David’s next victim, then, it’s more evidence that David’s motives for killing have something to do with kids who want to leave Osborne.
Themes
Guilt, Shame, and Redemption  Theme Icon
Alienation  Theme Icon
Gossip vs. Communication Theme Icon
Inner Change  Theme Icon
The evening passes without any additional oddities. Katie tucks the twins into bed and heads downstairs to work on her University of Southern California entrance essay. She thinks about Zachary. He’s a jerk, but she has a soft spot for him and thinks he’s smart. She wishes he’d apply himself, but he’ll probably end up staying in Osborne forever. Suddenly, Katie hears a creak from the basement, followed by sound of heavy footsteps stomping up the stairs. Katie calls 911 and tries to block the door, but she’s too late. David Ware emerges from the basement. He lunges at Katie. There’s a brief struggle, but David overpowers and kills Katie. He saws through her ribcage, rips out her heart, and places it on top of Katie’s college brochures—“because Katie’s heart had been set on college.” David laughs at his joke, since nobody else seems to appreciate his humor.
Katie’s ruminations about how sad it is that Zachary will likely remain in Osborne forever seems to implicitly explain why David has selected Katie, not Zachary, as his next victim: he picks Katie because she’s slated to leave Osborne, whereas Zachary likely will remain there forever. So this scene further establishes that resentment or hatred for people trying to leave the community is what drives David to kill. Furthermore, David’s light grievance about nobody appreciating his witty, dark humor suggests that he’s bitter about people underappreciating him. So perhaps it’s jealousy or some kind of internalized inferiority that leads him to hunt down and slaughter his peers who receive more recognition for their achievements and personalities. 
Themes
Alienation  Theme Icon
Inner Change  Theme Icon