The House of God is a must read for all students enrolled in AP English. It expresses irony, humor, conflict, character development and many themes. The novel allows students to read a book similar to Catch-22 without having to deal with another war novel, like A Farewell to Arms. It captures interest through a chronological flashback, unlike Catch-22, where the order of events is unclear. It also offers students an insight of the cruelties and realities of the medical profession that parallel the military profession. In the end the reader learns the effects of oppression, fatigue, and the psychological development of each intern. These understanding will further enhance a students knowledge of theme and conflict.
However, introducing the novel to the curriculum has some disadvantage. It is constructed with vulgar language through the last page. The language is especially explicit during the numerous sexual intercourses between the interns and nurses. Students should be mature enough to get past the crudeness but some teachers and students may not be open to the vivid voice and scenes. Also many of the characters are stock characters and confusion arises about whether or not they are important to the central plot. Lastly, some students will not be familiar with the medical references of diseases and symptoms stated throughout the novel. Nevertheless, this is only a minor disadvantage since some terms are explained as doctors ridicule the interns knowledge.
Despite the disadvantages, the novel fits well within the curriculum. It has offers a difficult reading level that challenges students reading, a strong use of literary techniques, and a psychological understanding of dynamic characters. It is the same length as Catch- 22 but it is easier to understand and expresses a clearer message on the realties and psychological tolls of a profession.