In Stephen King's work Rose Madder, there were several suggestions at Rose Madder's identity, but it was never outright said.

Those suggestions were:

  • Rose Madder was said to have had the exact same build, but with blonde hair in braids (to which later the protagonist actually dies her hair blonde and puts it in braids).
  • The protagonist Rose Daniels continually sang to herself "I'm really Rosy and I'm Rosy Real, and I'm a great big deal." This sort of hints at a duality of her identity.
  • The protagonist actually asks Rose Madder if she is her at a certain point (though Rose Madder deliberately sidesteps the question leaving it unanswered).
  • The protagonist was advised to keep away from Rose Madder as she can't easily control her temper, and later the protagonist herself gets incredible surges of rage.

Though clearly Rose Madder was very different from the protagonist in other respects:

  • It was suggested that she was immortal.
  • She had some sort of skin illness which made her flesh look rotten and gave her black marks on her neck and arms.
  • She had, at the very least, superpowers, including super strength and telepathy. She also seemed to be somewhat omniscient.

My question is, if they are one and the same, as is being suggested, why the difference? Perhaps the protagonist was simply wrong and the suggestions that they might be the same person were unnecessary to the story, but I tend to deny that possibility as there were many such hints throughout.

So what other possible reasons might there be? Is Rose Madder a "twinner" of Rose Daniels? Is Rose Madder a future version of Rose Daniels? Other theories?

  • 1
    It would not be the first time in King's work that either a "twinner", or just some archetype or other eldritch force, used a very similar proxy to carry out their intended story. – Radhil May 16 '18 at 11:22
  • It's not clear from your question whether you are aware that "I'm really Rosie and I'm Rosie Real, and I'm a great big deal." is a misquote from a children's musical called Really Rosie, so the lyrics might not be any kind of clue other than a clue that Rose Daniels has heard the musical and liked how her name was sort of in it. – Todd Wilcox May 16 '18 at 17:54
  • @ToddWilcox It's a clue in the sense that it is in the book. The protagonist doesn't have to understand the hint for it to be a hint. The fact that it comes from a musical doesn't encourage or discourage thinking either way for me for that matter. – Neil May 17 '18 at 6:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.