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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 211

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Mad Shadows explores the family dynamics of mother, Louise; daughter, Isabelle Marie; and son, Patrice. Louise is a widow characterized by vanity and an obsession for her son. Patrice is wildly good looking but lacks the mind to match. He is dependent on his mother, Louise. Isabelle Marie is hardworking, but her lack of beauty causes her to be neglected by her mother. Much of the story is unveiled by Isabelle Marie who is driven to destructive behavior by her resentment towards her mother and envy of her brother. Isabelle Marie is continually jealous of Patrice because his beauty and simplemindedness elicit the erotic adoration and constant attention of their mother.

Minor characters include:

Louise’s suitor-turned-husband, Lanz, represents wealth and beauty—two virtues highly sought after by the main characters. Once Louise’s attention transfers from her son to her lover, Patrice becomes desperate and kills Lanz.

Michael becomes the husband of Isabelle Marie. He has been blind since the age of ten, but once his vision is restored, he realizes the ugliness of Isabelle Marie and their daughter and leaves them.

Anne is Michael and Isabelle Marie’s daughter. After Michael leaves, Isabelle Marie cannot bear to set eyes upon Anne as she is a reminder of her father.