“The Terror” by Guy de Maupassant is a story about a man who is getting married because he’s afraid to be alone. First, the story begins with a man who talking about is upcoming nuptials to a woman he barely knows. The guy (nameless) has only met his future wife four times, and thinks she is what any man could want in a spouse; he talks about how she’s not really rich, but was raised for the sole purpose of marriage. He says the only reason he’s getting marriage is because he doesn’t want to be alone: he’s afraid of himself. Next, he describes the night that set his fear into motion. One rainy night, he was having a hard time going to sleep. There was something that was keeping him awake, and he paced his room back and forth. Since he couldn’t go to sleep, he figured he would go out and meet up with someone. After walking the streets for a while, he decided to finally return home. When he arrived home, he noticed his door was ajar; it was strange because he always locks his door, but he thought the cause was letter brought up for him. He shuts the door and locks it when he notices a man sitting in his chair near the fire. He figured the man was a friend who had fallen asleep waiting for him to return. He walked closer to the guy, and he appeared to be sleep. When he reached out to wake the man, no one was sitting in the chair–it was empty. For the rest of the night, the guy had a hard time going to sleep because he feared seeing the dark figure again. After that incident, the next day left no traces of what had occurred the following night. He went out and enjoyed himself, until he thought about going home. He wandered around until midnight until he thought what he was doing was crazy. He went into his room, not seeing the mysterious figure, but afraid that somehow he still lingered in the room. That night was hard: he did not sleep well and kept waking up to images and noises. Finally, the man came to a decision that the only reason the “spirit”–even though he didn’t believe in such things–was only stalking him because he was alone; that’s how he came to decision to get married. The man figured if he had someone else with him in the room, the ghost would disappear altogether. Overall, “The Terror” was an okay story. It seemed more fitting for a camp fire or Halloween. Because it was a “supernatural” story, I thought it would be a little more eerie, but it wasn’t. It did, however, turn me off to the idea of marriage. Knowing that a guy would only want to marry me because he was afraid of the dark is disheartening. I thought it could have been better on the suspense side, but it okay. Setting
.......The story takes place in Paris in the apartment of Monsieur Raymon, the narrator, as he writes a letter to his friend, Pierre Decourcelle. Paris locales mentioned in the letter are a theater, a restaurant, and the streets of the city. The time is approximately 1883. Characters
Monsieur Raymon: Narrator, who lives in Paris. His apparent hallucinations and nervous state of mind indicate that he is mentally unstable, as was the author himself, Maupassant, toward the end of his short life apparently as a result of his earlier development of syphilis, either congenitally or through sexual contact, and of overwork and the use of drugs and alcohol. Maupassant died in an asylum. Pierre Decourcelle: Narrator’s friend, to whom he reveals his fears. Janitor and Porter: Men who work in the apartment building where the narrator lives. They are referred to in the story but are not described or quoted. Mademoiselle LaJolle: Narrator’s bride-to-be.
Type of Work and Year of Publication
.......“The Terror” (French title, “Lui?") is a short story about a terrifying episode in the life of an apparently mentally disturbed man. It is one of many tales of the fantastic—about bizarre or chimerical happenings—that Maupassant wrote. It first appeared in Gil Blas magazine on July 3, 1883, under the signature of Maufrigneuse. In 1904, it was published...