The woodshed at the back of Go Dunne’s property in Carthage, Missouri, comes to symbolizes how secrets and lies build up over the course of any marriage or profound romantic relationship until they come to a head and burst. At first, the woodshed appears to be in a state of disuse and disrepair, and is thus ignored by Nick, Amy, and Go alike. Over the course of the novel, however, the woodshed emerges as a very crucial site. As Nick completes the treasure hunt left behind for him by Amy—in celebration of their fifth anniversary, ostensibly, but in reality a tour of all the sites of his infidelity with his mistress Andie—Nick is forced to admit to his sister (and his readers) that he has used to woodshed as an escape and a place to have sex with his mistress without being discovered. Nick is worried when he realizes that the last stop on Amy’s treasure hunt is the woodshed itself—but as he swings open its doors for the first time in months, he is horrified to see that Amy has filled it with expensive, ridiculous, and incriminating credit card purchases ranging from luxury golf clubs to violent, misogynistic pornography.
Amy has manipulated the contents of the woodshed and stuffed it full of things meant to incriminate Nick and make him look guilty so that he can be indicted for her murder (her months-long plot to take revenge on Nick for his affair), but as Nick confronts the items inside, he’s forced to realize once and for all how the secrets, lies, and half-truths he’s kept from his wife—and the ones she’s kept from him—have destabilized their marriage to the point of hatred and utter lunacy. Though Nick doesn’t play golf or watch violent porn, he does harbor secret misogynistic beliefs and often fantasizes about killing Amy for attempting to destroy him—and his aimlessness and directionless in the wake of his layoff from his magazine job is so odious to Amy that she is perhaps trying to get Nick to draw a connection between the idle, slow pursuit of golf and the stagnancy they’ve both faced since losing their jobs and moving to Missouri. The woodshed contains all the dark parts of Nick and Amy’s quiet resentments of one another, and symbolizes the “home” they’ve made for their worst thoughts, darkest fantasies, and cruelest suspicions about one another.
The Woodshed Quotes in Gone Girl
[Amy] knew she’d punish me good. Now at our final stop, Amy was ready for me to know how clever she was. Because the woodshed was packed with about every gizmo and gadget that I swore to Boney and Gilpin I hadn’t bought with the credit cards I swore I didn’t know anything about. The insanely expensive golf clubs were here, the watches and game consoles, the designer clothes, they were all sitting here, in wait, on my sister’s property. Where it looked like I’d stored them until my wife was dead and I could have a little fun.
I have a book deal: I am officially in control of our story. It feels wonderfully symbolic. Isn’t that what every marriage is, anyway? Just a lengthy game of he-said, she-said? Well, she is saying, and the world will listen, and Nick will have to smile and agree. I will write him the way I want him to be: romantic and thoughtful and very very repentant—about the credit cards and the purchases and the woodshed. If I can’t get him to say it out loud, he’ll say it in my book. Then he’ll come on tour with me and smile and smile.
I’m calling the book simply: Amazing.