I Heard the Owl Call My Name

by Margaret Craven

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Can you describe Mark's house in "I Heard the Owl Call My Name"?

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The old vicarage where Mark first lives is in a shambles.  It is located along a little path among the trees, and the steps leading up to it are broken.  The house itself is made up of two rooms.  There is "no plumbling", and the paper "(hangs) in shreds from the walls...the walls (are) discoloured and warped where the rain (has) entered".  When Mark examines the vicarage for the first time and tries to open a window, "the whole sill (comes) loose in his hand, and the floor sag(s) under him".  As he wryly notes, "there (is) no doubt about it...the vicarage (is) falling down".

The Bishop is aware that the vicarage will have to be replaced, and promises to send "a pre-fabricated two-bedroom house" up the river to provide Mark with adequate housing;  Mark, however, will have to solicit help from the people to put it up.  Unwilling to impose upon the people so early in his stay, Mark requests that the Bishop postpone sending the pre-fabricated house for the time being.  Mark intends to patch up the old vicarage as best he can, and will wait until he has gotten to know the people better before he asks for their help.  Ideally, in his mind, once he has proven himself to them, perhaps the help will be offered (Chapter 4).

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