There’s Someone Inside Your House

by

Stephanie Perkins

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on There’s Someone Inside Your House can help.

There’s Someone Inside Your House: Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The high school football team has remained undefeated all season, and they’re playing one of the worst teams in the league tomorrow night. So why, Matt Butler wonders, is Hooker is being such a jerk? Matt stands in the locker room. It’s dark outside. Practice is over, and everyone’s gone home for the night. Between the approaching playoffs, the pressure of recruiters, dealing with his parents, and Haley’s murder, Matt’s had a hard week. And Principal Stanton and Coach Hooker are on his case about the fight on the quad he was involved in. Lauren’s getting on his nerves, too. She’s been acting like Haley was her best friend when they’d never even hung out when Haley was alive. Matt resents Lauren for making the tragedy all about herself.
The only other time the narrative has shifted to the perspective of someone other than Makani was in Chapter One, which followed Haley Whitehall the afternoon before her murder. So it’s likely not great news for Matt Butler that Chapter Seven is told from his perspective—it seems possible, if not very likely, that he won’t make it out of this creepy abandoned locker room alive. Finally, Matt’s annoyance with Lauren for making Haley’s death all about her points to the novel’s exploration of how people deal with trauma, grief, and loss. Lauren, like other Osborne High students, doesn’t quite know how to respond to the shock of Haley’s death, so she inserts herself into the tragedy to cope.
Themes
Trauma, Loss, and Grief Theme Icon
Matt’s still annoyed at Buddy for ripping down the Sweeney Todd banner, too. Hooker is constantly nagging him about the importance of keeping up appearances, and Buddy’s actions made the whole team look bad. The stress of everything is clearly getting to Matt, since he's been misplacing his personal items—his phone, his keys, his wallet—and finding them in places he doesn’t remember putting them. He wonders if he’s dealing with something more serious. Football players are at high risk of developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a disease caused by repetitive head injuries. Memory loss is one of the early symptoms. Everyone loves football, so nobody wants to talk about its dangers. But Matt thinks about CTE constantly.
Matt’s recent habit of misplacing personal items mirrors Grandma Young’s recent complaints about someone leaving the kitchen cabinets open—and Haley’s uneasiness about the egg timer reappearing in odd, unexpected places. While Matt writes his forgetfulness off as possible early symptoms of CTE, it’s possible the killer is to blame. Another thing that Matt has in common with Makani is that he’s keeping a secret he’s ashamed of and doesn’t want others to know about. Just as Makani conceals her traumatic past, Matt anguishes over the possibility that he might have a neurological illness—and how such a weakness (in Matt’s eyes) might change everyone’s opinion of him. 
Themes
Guilt, Shame, and Redemption  Theme Icon
Alienation  Theme Icon
Matt has only ever dreamed of playing professional football. Lately, however, Matt’s mother has started printing out news stories about CTE and placing them at Matt’s spot at the breakfast table. Matt crumples up the papers when his father is around, knowing how hard they’ve worked to make Matt’s football dreams a reality. In secret, though, Matt pockets and reads the stories, and he grows increasingly paranoid each time he misplaces something.
Matt keeps his anxieties about CTE bottled up because he doesn’t want to disappoint his father or his coach. He’s ashamed of his anxiety because it doesn’t cohere with the tough, strong football player persona he projects to the world, and he’s worried that if people knew about his true, vulnerable self, they might think badly of him. 
Themes
Alienation  Theme Icon
Gossip vs. Communication Theme Icon
Matt decides to join his teammates at Sonic. He turns off the water, dries himself, and exits the shower. When he reaches his locker, he freezes: his combination lock is gone. Matt’s frustration mounts as he scours the locker room for his missing lock. When he returns to his locker, his practice clothes are missing, too. Matt calls out to his teammates, assuming he must be the victim of some practical joke. “Hello?” he calls out. There’s no response. Matt can hear the muted sounds of the crowd gathered outside for Haley’s candlelight vigil. To Matt’s dismay, he realizes he’ll have to walk past them to get to his truck. He can’t walk past a vigil in nothing but a towel.
Again, before Haley died, the egg timer reappeared in places where she least expected to see it. So Matt’s missing lock isn’t a great sign for Matt—it’s possible that the killer is lurking somewhere nearby, waiting to strike. Another thing to consider is the killer’s motives for disturbing their victims by moving around their personal effects. The killer seems to find pleasure in watching their victims doubt their intuitions and become increasingly paranoid. The killer relies on the idea that high schoolers are too concerned about what others think about—about being the subject of cruel gossip, perhaps—to trust their intuition.
Themes
Alienation  Theme Icon
Gossip vs. Communication Theme Icon
Get the entire There’s Someone Inside Your House LitChart as a printable PDF.
There’s Someone Inside Your House PDF
Matt tries to calm himself. Maybe the guys took his practice clothes before he even got in the shower. Maybe this is all just in his head. Matt’s composure vanishes once he remembers that his car keys were in his pockets. He’s furious. He calls his parents’ landline and screams expletives when nobody picks up. Suddenly, a distant whimper cuts through the silence. Matt freezes, on high alert. He senses the other person’s presence in the locker room. At the far end of the room, a thin figure sits, their back to Matt. “Hey,” Matt calls out angrily. He tries to soften his tone and asks if the person is okay. The figure sniffles. Matt thinks it might be a special-needs student and approaches them carefully.
Matt ignores his gut instinct that something is wrong because he’s too concerned about being the butt of his friends’ jokes. He’s too concerned about his image and reputation to protect his best interests, and the unidentified killer—whoever they might be—is weaponizing this insecurity against Matt. It’s obvious to the reader that the slender figure on the bench is the killer, yet Matt continues to doubt himself, determined to convince himself that he has nothing to be concerned about.
Themes
Guilt, Shame, and Redemption  Theme Icon
Alienation  Theme Icon
Gossip vs. Communication Theme Icon
Matt kneels before the figure. They raise their head slowly. Just as Matt recognizes the person, they stab a knife through his stomach. Matt falls to the floor. The figure stabs Matt through the skull. The figure kneels above Matt, holding out one of his mother’s CTE articles, which had recently gone missing. The last thing Matt registers is the figure carving around his skull. Then they pop off the top like a jack-o’-lantern and scramble Matt’s brains with the knife.
The killer’s strategy—messing with their victims, making them paranoid, before killing and mutilating them with a knife—is similar enough to Haley’s killer’s strategy that readers can safely assume it’s the same person. When the killer scrambles Matt’s brains, they’re making a dark joke, messing with Matt’s head so that his brain is literally damaged—just as Matt had feared his brain was due to CTE.
Themes
Guilt, Shame, and Redemption  Theme Icon