There’s Someone Inside Your House

by

Stephanie Perkins

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Corn Symbol Icon

The cornfields surrounding Osborne symbolize Makani’s inner growth. Over time, Makani realizes that inner work and meaningful connections with others are the only factors that dictate a person’s ability to grow and change. As Makani learns this vital lesson, her formerly negative associations with Osborne and its surrounding cornfields become more positive. Osborne is a small Nebraska farming town that “smell[s] like diesel, taste[s] like despair, and [is] surrounded by an ocean of corn.” Makani sees the stress of the legal trouble and social ostracization she faced for assaulting a friend during a cruel hazing ritual as the real reason her parents sent her to live with Grandma Young in Nebraska. At first, Makani hates Osborne’s cornfields because she sees Osborne as punishment for her poor behavior in Hawaii. Osborne's cornfields—so different from the Hawaiian beaches she left behind—are a constant visual reminder that she must suffer the consequences of her past actions.

Over time, though, Makani learns that her exile from Hawaii to Osborne neither exacerbates her shame nor gives her an automatic fresh start. Ultimately, it’s up to Makani to create new, meaningful connections with others and undertake the inner work required to move beyond her past and become the person she wants to be. As Makani learns to forgive herself, her attitude toward Osborne and its cornfields changes, too. For instance, when Ollie drives Makani to the middle of a remote cornfield and invites her to gaze at the endless “ocean” of corn that surrounds them, Makani suddenly sees the corn as “sublime” rather than suffocating. Makani’s new relationship with Ollie helps her to heal and reclaim the self-worth she lost when her old friends abandoned her. Though Makani once associated Osborne with misery and shame, opening up to Ollie allows her new life in Osborne—and its surrounding cornfields—to be a restorative and positive experience.

Corn Quotes in There’s Someone Inside Your House

The There’s Someone Inside Your House quotes below all refer to the symbol of Corn. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Trauma, Loss, and Grief Theme Icon
).
Chapter 2 Quotes

Osborne smelled like diesel, tasted like despair, and was surrounded by an ocean of corn. Stupid corn. So much corn.

Related Characters: Makani Young, Ollie Larsson
Related Symbols: Corn
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

The dry tassels reached for the open sky while the dead silks pointed down to the muddy earth. Slowly, ever so slowly, the wind strengthened and changed course, and the fields swayed as a single element, rippling outward in a current of mesmerizing waves. Something hidden inside Makani lifted its head and blossomed. The sensation was sublime. Makani often complained that she was drowning in corn, but she wasn’t gasping below the water. She was perched on the edge of the horizon.

Related Characters: Makani Young, Ollie Larsson
Related Symbols: Corn
Page Number: 68-69
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 25 Quotes

“People are sick. They think this is all a game.”

Related Characters: Makani Young (speaker), David Ware, Ollie Larsson, Grandma Young
Related Symbols: Corn
Page Number: 259
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 27 Quotes

The terror was finally spreading outward. If the corn were an ocean, the cries were its waves.

Related Symbols: Corn
Page Number: 279
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 28 Quotes

David didn’t know her, but Makani knew herself. And neither of them was a monster. She was a human who had made a terrible mistake. He was a human who had planned his terrible actions.

Related Characters: Makani Young, David Ware, Jasmine
Related Symbols: Corn, Knives
Page Number: 283-284
Explanation and Analysis:

Running away from home didn’t change the fact that a person still had to live with themselves. Makani had learned this, though perhaps her mother never had. Change came from within, over a long period of time, and with a lot of help from people who loved you. Osborne wasn’t David’s problem. For Makani, Osborne had even been restorative. Being a psychopath was David’s problem. David was David’s problem.

Related Characters: Makani Young, Makani’s Mother, David Ware
Related Symbols: Corn
Page Number: 284
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire There’s Someone Inside Your House LitChart as a printable PDF.
There’s Someone Inside Your House PDF

Corn Symbol Timeline in There’s Someone Inside Your House

The timeline below shows where the symbol Corn appears in There’s Someone Inside Your House. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Gossip vs. Communication Theme Icon
...students. Haley is starring in the musical and isn’t looking forward to being covered in corn syrup. Meanwhile, Brooke is the stage manager and has to deal with Shayna, the erratic... (full context)
Gossip vs. Communication Theme Icon
Inner Change  Theme Icon
...duties, Haley eats a sandwich in the kitchen and stares out the window at the cornfields surrounding her house. Her cell connection goes in and out, so half of what Brooke... (full context)
Chapter 2
Gossip vs. Communication Theme Icon
Inner Change  Theme Icon
...her friends on the quad and considers Osborne, a dreary town surrounded by nothing but cornfields for as far as the eye can see. Meanwhile, Alex and Darby continue to gossip... (full context)
Chapter 3
Gossip vs. Communication Theme Icon
Inner Change  Theme Icon
On the fifth Wednesday, Ollie and Makani drive to the middle of a cornfield and have sex. Darby asks Makani if she’s ever going to make things official with... (full context)
Chapter 6
Gossip vs. Communication Theme Icon
...sold most of their land to the neighbors, who have added it to an enormous corn maze. Everybody knows about the Martin Family Fun Corn Maze. Billboards advertise it all around... (full context)
Gossip vs. Communication Theme Icon
...flat, golden countryside and old farmhouses. Finally, Ollie turns down a dirt road surrounded by cornfields. It feels secluded. Makani’s friends would kill her if they knew. Makani tries to send... (full context)
Alienation  Theme Icon
Inner Change  Theme Icon
...invites her to look again. This time, Makani sees the beauty of the “ocean” of corn that surrounds her. She thanks Ollie for bringing her here. They make out for a... (full context)
Chapter 9
Trauma, Loss, and Grief Theme Icon
...her to his house, about a 20-minute drive out of town. They pass by endless cornfields and cattle ranches. Endless billboards for the Martin Family Fun Corn Maze dot the way. (full context)
Chapter 25
Trauma, Loss, and Grief Theme Icon
...Ollie sleep, tourists and drunk college students pour into town to visit the Martin family’s corn maze. The Sweeney Todd cast make up for their cancelled show by performing as monsters... (full context)
Trauma, Loss, and Grief Theme Icon
...to traffic. The street is packed with out-of-towners eager to experience this year’s particularly frightening corn maze. Makani is disgusted that people would make a game out of their tragedy. (full context)
Alienation  Theme Icon
Inner Change  Theme Icon
...Rosemarie’s house, which is located near the Larsson house, on the opposite side of the cornfield. They get into Ollie’s cruiser and speed into the night. (full context)
Chapter 26
Trauma, Loss, and Grief Theme Icon
Alienation  Theme Icon
Gossip vs. Communication Theme Icon
Rosemarie is in the stables brushing her horse, Moonlight. She hears the commotion of the corn maze in the distance and scowls at the drunken college students who’ve made this year’s... (full context)
Chapter 27
Trauma, Loss, and Grief Theme Icon
Guilt, Shame, and Redemption  Theme Icon
Alienation  Theme Icon
Inner Change  Theme Icon
...leg is injured. The group hears Darby’s anguished moan coming from the edge of the corn maze. There, they find him hyperventilating over Alex’s limp body. Alex’s vertebrae are exposed: David... (full context)
Trauma, Loss, and Grief Theme Icon
Inner Change  Theme Icon
...Makani’s heart, Makani feels a wave of blood crash into her face. She licks her lips—corn syrup. She looks behind her and sees Brooke holding an empty bucket. (full context)
Chapter 28
Guilt, Shame, and Redemption  Theme Icon
Inner Change  Theme Icon
...the maze. The area around her looks like a creepy abandoned carnival. She spots the corn pit—a ball pit made of corn kernels—before her. The parking lot lies just beyond the... (full context)
Trauma, Loss, and Grief Theme Icon
Guilt, Shame, and Redemption  Theme Icon
Alienation  Theme Icon
Gossip vs. Communication Theme Icon
Inner Change  Theme Icon
...him. With all his might, Darby pushes David into the pit. David’s face hits the corn hard, and his body lies motionless. Makani cries that Darby isn’t dead. “I’m not,” confirms... (full context)