We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves


Karen Joy Fowler

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Rosemary’s Father Character Analysis

Rosemary’s father is a psychologist and a professor at the University of Indiana, Bloomington. (His first name is never given.) The son of Grandma Fredericka and Grandpa Joe, it is implied that he comes from a working-class background. He is rational and cynical, a passionate believer in science who is dismissive about other fields of knowledge, such as psychoanalysis. He is also an alcoholic, and dies of a series of heart attack at the age of 58 brought on by a combination of drinking, diabetes, and stress.

Rosemary’s Father Quotes in We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

The We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves quotes below are all either spoken by Rosemary’s Father or refer to Rosemary’s Father. 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
Part 1, Chapter 3 Quotes

The idea that we would spend the holiday talking about anything as potentially explosive as my arrest was a fiction, and we all knew this even as I was being made to promise to do so. My parents persisted in pretending we were a close-knit family, a family who enjoyed a good heart-to-heart, a family who turned to each other in times of trial. In light of my two missing siblings, this was an astonishing triumph of wishful thinking; I could almost admire it. At the same time, I am very clear in my own mind. We were never that family.

Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:

There are moments when history and memory seem like a mist, as if what really happened matters less than what should have happened. The mist lifts and suddenly there we are, my good parents and their good children, their grateful children who phone for no reason but to talk, say their good-nights with a kiss, and look forward to home on the holidays. I see how, in a family like mine, love doesn't have to be earned and it can't be lost. Just for a moment, I see us that way; I see us all.

Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:
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.

Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:

Lowell’s room smelled of damp cedar from the cage where three rats, washouts from our father's lab, would chirp and creak in their spinning wheel all night long. In retrospect, there was something incomprehensibly strange about the way any of the laboratory rats could transform from data point to pet, with names and privileges and vet appointments, in a single afternoon. What a Cinderella story!

Related Symbols: Cages and Cells, Lab Rats
Page Number: 66
Explanation and Analysis:

Psychoanalysis was completely bogus, he would say, good only for literary theory. Maybe it was useful, when plotting books, to imagine that someone's life could be shaped by a single early trauma, maybe even one inaccessible in memory. But where were the blind studies, the control groups? Where was the reproducible data?

Related Characters: Rosemary Cooke (speaker), Rosemary’s Father
Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:
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:
Part 5, Chapter 5 Quotes

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

Related Symbols: Cages and Cells
Page Number: 245
Explanation and Analysis:

Sigmund Freud has suggested that we have no early childhood memories at all. What we have instead are false memories aroused later and more pertinent to this later perspective than to the original events. Sometimes in matters of great emotion, one representation, retaining all the original intensity, comes to replace another, which is then discarded and forgotten. The new representation is called a screen memory. A screen memory is a compromise between remembering something painful and defending yourself against that very remembering.
Our father always said that Sigmund Freud was a brilliant man but no scientist, and that incalculable damage had been done by confusing the two. So when I say here that I think the memory I had of the thing that never happened was a screen memory I do so with considerable sadness.

Related Characters: Rosemary Cooke (speaker), Rosemary’s Father
Page Number: 247
Explanation and Analysis:
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Rosemary’s Father Character Timeline in We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

The timeline below shows where the character Rosemary’s Father appears in We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Family, Tradition, and the Past Theme Icon
Absence, Silence, and Denial Theme Icon
...only their high quantity. Even though her parents were pleased by her chatty nature, occasionally her father would grow exasperated by how much she talked and tell her to “skip the beginning”... (full context)