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Looking At The Character Of Doug From ‘Somebody’s Home’

“Somebody’s Home,” written by Kaira Rouda, has a lot of characters and narrators who narrate the course of events from their perspectives. The text is, therefore, confusing and nonlinear, leaving the readers with a lot of confusion regarding what’s true and what isn’t. The text begins with the narration of events by Tom, the antagonist, followed by Julie, Jess, Sandi, and Roger. Even though Doug is one of the principal characters, he is not one of the narrators. He is Sandi’s husband and the father of Tom, and both of these characters have their own thoughts regarding him. They have given a proper description of exactly the type of person Doug is and provided enough reason for their respective plans. Let’s try and chalk out his character from their narration.

Doug is the head pastor at the church in Orange County. Before being the head pastor, he was the assistant pastor of the same church. His first wife, who gave birth to Tom, left when their child was 6. The reason for her leaving is not disclosed to the readers. Doug divorced her and remarried Sandi, Tom’s Sunday school teacher. They had quite an age difference, but Sandi’s father had been a head pastor at the same church, and her family was flattered that Doug wanted to marry Sandi amongst all the other women. Sandi felt blessed because she really loved Tom and wanted to be his mother. Doug was at first very sweet to her, bringing her flowers and showering her with affection, but soon things changed. Sandi got to know that Doug had anger management issues. He would yell and scream at her and also hit Tom, who was a child back then. For hours on end, he would take out his frustrations on both of them. Sandi had two sons with Doug, Davis and Danny, and Doug would misbehave with them too, but not as much as he did with Tom. Things were still bearable for Sandi, but then she heard rumors about Doug having an affair with a divorced woman named Charlene. Doug would remain in his office and not come home for several nights, saying that he was working when the truth was that he was spending time with her. Charlene soon left, but Doug’s nature did not change. He would prey on women who were divorced and would come to him so that he could help them find faith and seek forgiveness from God. He would take advantage of their vulnerability. His character reminds us of the summoner from Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. The summoner was an official of the ecclesiastical courts or the Christian court in the medieval ages. The summoners had the responsibility of summoning people on various charges, and their office was prone to corruption. They would threaten people and put off the charges once they had gotten what they wanted. The summoner whom Chaucer portrays is a person who reeks of lechery and hypocrisy. His face is red and full of boils, suggesting the kind of person he is and the intentions that he has. He is always quite drunk, and apart from extorting money from people on false charges and accusations, he was also a pimp and would often blackmail people for this.

Doug was the same; he was equally corrupt, and he never practiced what he preached. Tom, in his very first account, talked about how Doug would talk about the importance of tolerance and the rights of humans. But on meeting lesbians and black people, he would smile, talk, and shake hands, and when they were out of sight, he would clean his hands, suggesting they are people who were impure. He was a hypocrite who talked about forgiveness on national television only because he was being watched, and he loved when the spotlight was on him. He completely dismissed the fact that the game that Jess and her friends had played was, in fact, really bad, and some form of action must be taken to make them understand the severity of it. He ill-treated Sandi not because they were having some relationship issues. He is a person who treats everyone like that, especially women, gays, lesbians, blacks, colored people, etc. If you’re a white man and you’re influential, then Doug would treat you really well, not out of respect but to get something for himself. He used his religion and his office to get what he wanted, be it money, power, or women. He would wear a mask of decency and devotion, but on the inside, he is a horrible person who has made Tom the person he becomes. He cared for no one other than himself. He would even hit Sandi in front of the children, not thinking twice about the impact that it would have on them. The only good thing he did was to save Jess before he succumbed to his injuries and passed away. We don’t know if he realized what he had created in Tom and how he had failed as a parent. We don’t know if he felt regret or remorse for his actions, but when Tom was trying to kill Jess, both Roger and he tried to save her. Both these men were problematic to the core. They did not have one or two issues; everything about them was wrong. Yet, in trying to save a girl, both of them died as heroes, which makes us wonder if Rouda gave a proper ending to the thriller.

See more: ‘Somebody’s Home’ Antagonist: A Psychopath Or A Misunderstood Person Who Commits Crime To Teach?

Anantaa Ghosh
Anantaa Ghosh
Anantaa has completed her graduation and post-graduation in English literature. She works as a guest lecturer and is an avid and enthusiastic reader. She is deeply passionate about rivers and wants to pursue her research on water narratives.


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