Come into My Parlor “Bless this House,” by Christianna Brand If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Think about where this adage applies, and you've found a plot for a Come Into My Parlor story. Get rich quick schemes, shoddy investment plans, free downloads, and anything where your gut tells you that there must be a catch somewhere. In this formula, the victim unknowingly lured into a trap set by the criminal. Think of a spider and a fly, the spider spins the web as a trap for a fly to accidentally fly into and be ultimately destroyed. In order for this to work, concealed human evil must be revealed by the end of the story. Plot: 1. Characters are drawn in. 2. They realize that they have misjudged 3. They are destroyed for their error. The victim in this formula is naive • the reader identifies with this naivety of the victim; – so when the victim is trapped the reader feels trapped as well. • The reader should realize exactly how the victim gets duped, and realize that the same could have happened to them self if they had been in the same situation. In the Come into My Parlor formula, it is understood that the victim is partially at fault. • The victim's own vice is the reason that they fall into the trap. Also: Expecting kindness where it is not deserved • Human vice leads to a downfall by a criminal who's inner evil is revealed after it's too late for the victim to escape. The moral of the story: if it's seems too good to be true, it probably is. "Bless this House," by Christiana Brand Based on: "Nurse Matilda" books by Christianna Brand. In the beginning of "Bless this House," it is a little ambiguous as to who is laying the trap • At first, Joe and pregnant Marilyn don't seem at all virtuous, • and Mrs. Vaughan seems to be the virtuous neighbor by taking them in but it is her stubbornness that is the vice that ultimately leads to her demise. She believes them to be the second coming of Christ: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. No matter what the priests and her friends tell her, she is blind to anything other than this fantasy. • So blind, that she does not realize that they are pushing her out of her own home or that they have done the same with Mrs. Mace. • It is understood that Mrs. Vaughan herself makes the trap work for Joe and Marilyn. We know that this is a Come Into My Parlor formula, so let's look at how Marilyn and Joe spin a trap for Mrs. Vaughan. They find the Vice: • Mrs. Vaughan's irrational beliefs. – They play along with Mrs. Vaughan's opinions. – Marilyn calls Joe a carpenter. – They are respectful and happy to have just the shed in the back. – The allow her to fawn over the baby. – Joe even warns Mrs. Vaughan to hide her money after the landlord propositions to help Joe steal it. They exploit the Vice: • Mrs. Vaughan is already acting suspiciously crazy; but instead of adding to the rumors and the gossip, they defend her and make themselves appear to have her best interest in mind. – The crazier Mrs. Vaughan appears, the more reliable and good natured the couple appears to the neighborhood. – They allow the neighbors and friends to come up with their desired conclusions. – The neighbors decide that she is crazy. – The neighbors decide that they should not be living with her because it isn't safe for the baby. – The neighbors decide that she should be taken into a home. They seal the trap: • After the community believes that they are doing the right thing by bringing her to an institution, Mrs. Vaughan is trapped. – The kicker, she willingly goes to what she thinks is a visit with Mrs. Mace, the old landlady. – She has no idea that she is trapped until Joe tells her in the car. – The last scene with the conversation between Joe and Marilyn reveals that Mrs. Vaughan is now buried by Mrs. Mace in a field of wild flowers, and now they have the place to themselves.