House of GamesThe Book House of Games is written by David Mamet,with Jonathan Katz as the co-writer. In the book, Margaret Ford, apsychiatrist, has published a book; yet, she feels that she has something moreto accomplish.
One of her patients, Billy threatens to commit suicide with agun due to death threats from a criminal he owed money. Margaret chooses to beinvolved in his matters, a decision that leads to a series of events. In theend, Margaret discovers that it has all been a con, aimed at robbing her. Inthis paper, different perspectives of the book have been analyzed, with closeguidance by several questions.
The fact that Dr. Ford killed Mike may seem to have asimple observation. He had been involved in a deal that saw her conned of$86,000. However, there are other reasons, which, when understood, it is easierto know the true messages by the author. First, Dr.
Ford had been conned of hermoney. After a long process where she thought that she was being taught aboutconmen, she came to realize that she was their target, right from the action ofthe patient. The process does not start with Mike. Instead, it starts withBilly, who Dr.
Ford sets out to help. However, the person who was killed wasMike. The first reason as to why she killed him is that, she wanted someone topay for her loss, eliminating any form of bitterness from her. Obviously, shewas fascinated by the idea of conning people, something she shows throughoutthe book. Also, at the end, she is seen to be stealing. This does not mean thatshe appreciated any acts of theft in which she was the victim. She neededsomeone to carry away her bitterness.
Throughout the whole ordeal, Dr. Ford wasmostly close to Mike. As a matter of fact, Mike had even taken her to bed.
Ashe taught her about the rules of being a good con, he used the same rules onher. Therefore, most of the bitterness that filled Dr. Ford was directedtowards Mike. This is in addition to the fact that he was the easiest todeceive, since they had already started building a small history.
After the whole ordeal, which led to Dr. Ford killingMike, she went on vacation. When she comes back, the story takes us to ameeting that she had with one of her colleagues. During the meeting, it isclear that she does not show remorse for what she had done.
As a matter offact, she goes on to steal a gold lighter from her colleague. This leads to animportant question. A major assumption would be that Dr. Ford killed Mike forstealing from her. However, why would she go on to steal the lighter? Byaccepting to be part of a con group, Dr. Ford had accepted to be involved intheir evil ways. She had already begun the initiation to a life of deceit.
Shehad already killed her conscience, especially after killing Mike. Therefore,she had already become fascinated by the life of taking things from people.Probably, this is what she had been perfecting, while on vacation. When shecomes back, obviously, she is not out of money. The fact that she had come backfrom vacation proves that she had some money to spare.
However, she still wenton to risk taking the gold lighter from her colleague. Clearly, there was noremorse in her. She did not feel guilty anymore. Her new venture seemed tointerest her. As Mike was teaching the rules of their game, it waspossible to see other aspects except money. He taught that the first rule wassecrecy, while the second one was control. In the issue of control, power isthe major perspective that comes into mind.
Throughout the ordeal, one can seethat there was a clear power struggle between Dr. Ford and Mike. Mike controlsMargaret, while ensuring that she falls into his trap. However, as time goeson, Margaret realizes that she cannot trust anyone. She continued learning moreabout the acts of deceit until she becomes more observant and careful.Normally, Mike would have gotten away with the crime that he did on Margaret.However, this was a special situation. It is true that Mike ended up with themoney, which was divided among the friends.
However, the power struggle was wonby Dr. Ford. At the end of the book, she deceives Mike, making him believe thatshe was in love with him. When they were at a hidden place, she drew a gun and toldhim to beg for his life. Thinking that he still had power over her, Mikedeclined, thinking that she did not have the guts to pull the trigger. As amatter of fact, she shoots him three times, leaving him for dead. Therefore,although Mike had prevailed over Margaret for most of the story, it is Margaretwho emerges as the winner.
One of the most important lessons that Mike teachesDr. Ford is that she cannot trust anyone. Being the person who was introducingMargaret to a new world, he was the least person that she would expect to conher. He was the one who was using illustrations to help her understand how tobe a successful con artist. At first, Margaret was not interested in conningpeople.
The only thing she wanted was some more ideas for her book. However, inthe process, she began getting more and more fascinated. Margaret learns aboutthe game in the best way possible. She had a teacher who was well experienced,teaching her every step of the way. In addition, she experienced the process,firsthand. Being the person who was being conned, she felt the weight at everystage, knowing how well to execute every step of the way. Therefore, Mike helpsher become a perfect con artist, without a conscience.
Also, after discoveringthat they had stolen from her, she understood the whole process, immediately.That is why she had no remorse, while killing Mike. House of Games is a great novel by David Mamet.Through the book, he explains his understanding of people, in the world ofdeceit. Through the ordeal of Dr. Ford, he tries to teach the several secretsof con artists, which he easily identifies with a pattern in their behaviors.
Apart from the literacy devices used in the book, it is a source of vitalinformation, if used in the right way.