In this story, Malamud gives the reader a look at madness, both realized and unrealized. The main character, Newman, visits his father every week in an asylum and is confronted by a resident who wants Newman to mail a letter for him. But the letter is blank. It has always blank, has been blank for years and every week the conversation ensues wherein Newman asks about the recipient of the letter and the content or rather, the letter's lack thereof.
When the story concludes, the reader is left questioning WHO it is that is mad or if anyone can be labelled that. Brilliant!!!