Letter from a Madman (Maupassant)

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Letter from a Madman
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man became obsessed with the idea of perceiving the invisible and supernatural, leading to his mental deterioration and constant vigilance in front of a mirror.

A man began to question the nature of reality after reading a phrase by Montesquieu, which stated that if humans had one more or less organ, their understanding of the world would be completely different. He realized that human senses are limited and that they only perceive a small fraction of the world around them. This realization led him to believe that everything is uncertain and that humans are surrounded by unexplored mysteries.

I told myself: I am enclosed in things unknown. I thought of a man without ears inferring sound, as we infer so many hidden mysteries.

The man, who is also the narrator, became obsessed with the idea of discovering these hidden mysteries and tried to sharpen his senses to perceive the invisible.

The Narrator — narrator; tormented by the idea of the invisible and supernatural; obsessed with his mirror.

He started to feel the presence of supernatural beings around him and became increasingly afraid of the unknown. One night, he heard a strange creaking sound in his room and felt the presence of an invisible being. He tried to catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, but it seemed to be hiding him from his own reflection.

Eventually, the man managed to see himself in the mirror again, but the invisible being never appeared. He became consumed by the desire to see it again and spent all his time staring into the mirror, waiting for its return. As he waited, he began to see terrifying images in the mirror, such as monsters and corpses.

And in that mirror I am beginning to see mad images, monsters, hideous corpses, all sorts of frightful beasts, dreadful beings.

The man confessed his story to a doctor, asking for advice on what to do next.