There’s Someone Inside Your House

by

Stephanie Perkins

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There’s Someone Inside Your House: Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Makani feels on edge as she helps Grandma Young cook dinner that night. They’re making a healthy meal of turkey meatballs and salad, but Makani longs for the rich, flavorful foods of Hawaii. Dinner time always makes her homesick. Just as she and Grandma Young sit down to eat, Makani’s phone buzzes. Grandma Young sighs as Makani checks her notifications. Her heart jolts as she sees a series of texts from an unknown number: “I could say the same thing about you,” and “What did you mean when you said that?” Grandma Young scolds Makani for using her phone at the table. Makani lies and says the texts are from her mother. Grandma Young relents and lets Makani excuse herself to use the phone.
Makani’s struggle to adapt to a new, unfamiliar cuisine in Nebraska further illustrates what an alienating experience the move from Hawaii has been for her. Further, it also seems like Makani is struggling to adapt to new rules at Grandma Young’s house, such as Grandma Young’s rule that Makani shouldn’t use her phone at the table (unless, of course, she’s communicating with a family member). The texts Makani receives are cryptic and this creates some tension—it could be Ollie referencing his and Makani’s conversation earlier, but this isn’t clear yet. 
Themes
Alienation  Theme Icon
Makani walks to the kitchen and asks who the sender it. She receives an instant response: “Ollie.” Makani’s heart races. Ollie demands to know what Makani meant. She deflects, so Ollie guesses what’s on her mind: she “feel[s] slighted.” If this is the case, Ollie writes, “there’s been a misunderstanding.” He thinks that they both mistakenly thought the other was ashamed. Ollie’s directness impresses Makani—it’s a rare trait in kids her age. Meanwhile, in the dining room, Grandma Young is getting impatient. Without notice, Makani’s phone rings with an incoming call from Ollie. She hurriedly tells him it’s not a good time to talk and promises to call him back later.  
Ollie’s frankness impresses Makani because in her experience, being forthright and honest is something that most kids their age—including Makani herself—struggle with. For instance, Makani can’t even bring herself to be frank with herself about the mysterious Hawaii “incident.” This exchange between Ollie and Makani also gives additional context for the circumstances of their pseudo-breakup—it’s apparent at this point that they broke things off due to a mutual misunderstanding rather than some dramatic falling out.
Themes
Gossip vs. Communication Theme Icon
Makani returns to the dining room table, but Grandma Young isn’t fooled: she knows Makani wasn’t talking to her mother and demands to see her phone. After some resistance, Makani reluctantly admits that she was talking to a boy. Grandma Young demands to know his name, and Makani has no choice but to tell her. Grandma considers the name “Ollie Larsson” silently. She remembers Ollie’s older brother, Chris, as one of her former students. Then she tells Makani that she’ll have to meet Ollie if Makani wants to continue seeing him.
It's framed as a perfectly reasonable request that Grandma Young wants to meet the boy with whom her granddaughter is romantically involved. At the same time, Grandma Young’s mention of Ollie’s brother Chris shows that she is clearly aware of who Ollie is. This, though, creates some tension: she may also be aware of the negative rumors about Ollie, and this may increase her desire to meet and assess Ollie in person before giving Makani her blessing.
Themes
Gossip vs. Communication Theme Icon
Later that night, after Grandma Young has gone to sleep, Makani retires to her bedroom and texts Ollie to see if he can talk. She’s nervous but excited, too: talking to Ollie will be the most exciting thing that’s happened to her since they hooked up over the summer. As she waits for Ollie’s response, Makani considers her surroundings. She’s in her mother’s childhood bedroom, and it’s full of old, mismatched wooden furniture. It’s the opposite of Makani’s mother’s house today, which is all stainless steel and impersonal furniture. Makani has contributed a few of her own things to the room: some pieces of coral and cowrie shells from back home, a few stuffed animals, and some jewelry. Most things she keeps hidden, though.
Makani sees her mother’s furnishings—new and old—as symbols for her mother’s inner psyche. The impersonal furnishings of Makani’s mother’s adulthood dwelling reflect her aloof, withholding personality. And Makani seems to have inherited this trait from her mother, a fact that comes through in Makani’s failure to furnish her bedroom with her personal effects. Like her mother, Makani copes with her struggles (or avoids coping with them) by keeping everything bottled up inside. 
Themes
Alienation  Theme Icon
Gossip vs. Communication Theme Icon
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Makani checks her phone again. There’s still no response from Ollie, and it’s getting late. Just then, she hears a rustling outside her window. She peers outside and expects to see the neighbor’s cat, which often hunts in their yard. When she looks outside, though, the cat is nowhere in sight. Makani returns to her bed but continues to look toward the window. She’s growing increasingly uneasy, but she doesn’t understand why. She gets up and closes her curtains before returning, once more, to her bed. She tries to study but can’t focus. All she can do is dream about Ollie. She wonders if they’ll go on a real date. She also wonders how he got her number, since she never gave it to him. 
The rustling Makani hears coming from outside could be real or imagined. Either way, it builds tension. One can imagine how such a scene would play out in a typical slasher movie, too. Perkins makes repeated nods to conventional elements of the horror genre throughout the book, and this scene is an example of this tactic. This scene also resonates with the opening scene with Haley Whitehall and the egg timer—Haley, too, felt uneasy but discounted her feelings as unfounded and irrational. Might something violent and sudden happen to Makani as it did to Haley? Makani’s anxiety about how Ollie got her number seems to call back to her overarching anxiety about people knowing too much about her personal life and her past. She’s wary that if Ollie has found some way to get her number, he can just as easily find out about her past—and judge or reject her for it.
Themes
Guilt, Shame, and Redemption  Theme Icon
Suddenly Makani’s phone dings. She lunges toward it but groans when she sees it’s only Alex, who has made a game out of sending her friends pictures of “hairy butts” she finds on Google Images. Finally, at 11:11, Ollie texts back. He’d been working, but he’s home now—is she still awake? Makani wonders if she should wait a bit before responding in order to seem not desperate. Then she decides this is stupid and calls him back. Ollie picks up immediately.
Makani wants to wait to respond to Ollie because she doesn’t want to appear overeager or needy. But the positive impact that Ollie’s earlier frankness had on their budding romance seems to have taught Makani that it’s better to be direct and honest. As a result, she disregards her self-consciousness and acts on her desire to call Ollie immediately. It’s clear this was the right decision, too, since Ollie’s immediate answer shows that he was just as eager to talk to Makani as Makani was to talk to him.
Themes
Gossip vs. Communication Theme Icon
Makani asks Ollie how he got her number. He sounds embarrassed as he admits that his brother, a police officer, has ways of getting information. Makani smiles, thinking about Ollie talking to his brother about her. They chat back and forth, and Makani gleams at the effortlessness of their banter. They both admit that it was dumb to mutually assume that they were mad at each other. They admit that they like each other, and Makani feels the first genuine bit of happiness she’s had in a long time.
If Ollie’s brother has ways of getting private information like Makani’s cell phone number, he might have ways of getting information about whatever happened to Makani in Hawaii, as well. Perhaps Ollie’s unconventional method of acquiring Makani’s number foreshadows him finding out other private details about Makani later on. 
Themes
Trauma, Loss, and Grief Theme Icon
Guilt, Shame, and Redemption  Theme Icon
Gossip vs. Communication Theme Icon
Quotes