We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Fern is Rosemary’s “sister,” a chimpanzee who the Cookes adopt from Africa. Fern’s mother was killed by poachers, and when Fern was found she was very sick with diarrhea and fleas. Fern is extremely attached to the Cooke family and sees herself as human. However, as she grows older she becomes more dangerous, attacking the graduate students who are assigned to conduct experiments on her. She is given away to a laboratory in South Dakota, where she is forced to live with a large group of chimps. Fern is artificially inseminated and gives birth to three children, two of whom are sold to other labs. Her youngest child, Hazel, is allowed to stay in South Dakota with her.

Fern Quotes in We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

The We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves quotes below are all either spoken by Fern or refer to Fern. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Humans vs. Animals Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the G.P. Putnam’s Sons edition of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves published in 2013.
Part 1, Chapter 1 Quotes

In 1996, ten years had passed since I'd last seen my brother, seventeen since my sister disappeared. The middle of my story is all about their absence, though if I hadn't told you that, you might not have known. By 1996, whole days went by in which I hardly thought of either one.

Related Characters: Rosemary Cooke (speaker), Lowell Cooke (aka “Travers”), Fern
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur

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Part 2, Chapter 4 Quotes

Bed-hopping was an established custom in the house—Fern and I had rarely ended the night in the bed where we'd started. Our parents felt that it was natural and mammalian not to want to sleep alone, and though they would have preferred we stay in our own beds, because we kicked and thrashed, they'd never insisted on it.

Related Characters: Rosemary Cooke (speaker), Rosemary’s Father, Rosemary’s Mother, Fern
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Part 2, Chapter 5 Quotes

I would say that, like Lowell, I loved her as a sister, but she was the only sister I ever had, so I can't be sure; it's an experiment with no control.

Related Characters: Rosemary Cooke (speaker), Lowell Cooke (aka “Travers”), Fern
Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 6 Quotes

Was my father kind to animals? I thought so as a child, but I knew less about the lives of lab rats then. Let's just say that my father was kind to animals unless it was in the interest of science to be otherwise. He would never have run over a cat if there was nothing to be learned by doing so.
He was a great believer in our animal natures, far less likely to anthropomorphize Fern than to animalize me. Not just me, but you, too––all of us together, I'm afraid. He didn't believe animals could think, not in the way he defined the term, but he wasn't much impressed with human thinking, either. He referred to the human brain as a clown car parked between our ears. Open the doors and the clowns pile out.

Related Characters: Rosemary Cooke (speaker), Rosemary’s Father, Fern
Related Symbols: Lab Rats
Page Number: 94-95
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 3, Chapter 5 Quotes

I came to UC Davis both to find my past (my brother) and to leave it (the monkey girl) behind. By monkey girl, I mean me, of course, not Fern, who is not now and never has been a monkey.

Related Characters: Rosemary Cooke (speaker), Lowell Cooke (aka “Travers”), Fern
Page Number: 128
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequLorem Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Part 5, Chapter 5 Quotes

Poor Mom and Dad. All three of their children incarcerated at once; that really was bad luck.

Related Characters: Rosemary Cooke (speaker), Rosemary’s Father, Rosemary’s Mother, Lowell Cooke (aka “Travers”), Fern
Related Symbols: Cages and Cells
Page Number: 245
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Part 6, Chapter 7 Quotes

Three children, one story. The only reason I'm the one telling it is that I'm the one not currently in a cage.

Related Characters: Rosemary Cooke (speaker), Lowell Cooke (aka “Travers”), Fern
Related Symbols: Cages and Cells
Page Number: 304
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Fern Character Timeline in We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

The timeline below shows where the character Fern appears in We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
Family, Tradition, and the Past Theme Icon
Absence, Silence, and Denial Theme Icon
...child. She describes a series of home movies featuring herself, her mother, and her sister (Fern). Rosemary is not sure what she is saying in the videos, but the meaning of... (full context)