"Until this day, how well the house had kept its peace. How carefully it had inquired, 'Who goes there? What's the password?" and, getting no answer from the only foxes and whining cats, it had shut up its windows and drawn shades in an old-maidenly preoccupation with self-protection which bordered on a mechanical paranoia....The house was an altar with ten thousand attendants, big, small, servicing, attending, in choirs. But the gods had gone away, and the ritual of the religion continued senselessly, uselessly."
Everyday the house performed its duties
even though its walls were empty. When an odd noise was heard it asked, as it was programmed to do, who was there and tried to determine whether or not they belonged on the premises. There is no longer any need for the house to perform these duties, but the house does not know any other way of existing. These duties is what the house was programmed to do and it never learned to do otherwise. Although the author writers that the house draws its shades in self protection, this feature was installed to protect the family not the house. The house does not understand that it can stop performing its duties, if it had and a fire has erupted, the house would have had enough water to save itself.