Seeing “The Yellow Wallpaper” everywhere

I recently, finally, got Lock Every Door by Riley Sager from the library. You’ve seen the cover: hot pink and purple and the thriller-standard all caps bold title. It practically screams “read me!”

When the narrator of Lock Every Door describes her fancy temporary apartment, she pays particular attention to the wallpaper:

The pattern is even more oppressive up close. All those flowers opening like mouths, their petals colliding. The oval spaces between them are colored a shade of red so dark it flirts with blackness. They remind me of eyes studding the wallpaper.

Lock Every Door, Riley Sager

Sound familiar? If you’ve read “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the short story we covered in episode 2, it should! Here’s a passage from the iconic story:

“There is a recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down. I get positively angry with the impertinence of it and the everlastingness up and down and sideways they crawl and those absurd unblinking eyes are everywhere.”

The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Not only are both narrators fixated on the wallpaper: they both see EYES and FACES. And that’s not all! As “Lock Every Door” continues, the narrator keeps bringing them up:

The grandfather clock as I drink said coffee in the sitting room, counting the pairs of eyes in the wallpaper. My tally stands at sixty-four when the clock bongs out the hour.

Lock Every Door, Riley Sager

And again.. note that the eyes are never friendly.

I move from the kitchen to the sitting room, where I’m greeted by the faces in the wallpaper. A whole army of dark eyes and open mouths. I instantly turn away.

Lock Every Door, Riley Sager

Once more!

He arches a brow. “Interesting word choice. I was going to say this place can be unusual. Do you really think it’s creepy?” Only the wallpaper, I think.

Lock Every Door, Riley Sager

If I still haven’t convinced you that Riley Sager is a fan of “The Yellow Wallpaper”, I present my final piece of evidence:

This time the busy floral wallpaper is light yellow.

Lock Every Door, Riley Sager

So, is there yellow wallpaper in the apartments of the fictional Bartholomew building? Or am I just… seeing things? (Want to read the the story? It’s free on Google Books!)

Which other horror stories incorporate mentions of eerie wallpaper?

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