We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Part 1, Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Rosemary and Harlow are arrested and placed in the back of a police car together. Harlow is significantly cheered up by her arrest. She introduces herself to Rosemary as “Harlow Fielding. Drama department,” explaining that she was named after Jean Harlow. The girls are taken to the county jail. The officer who arrested them is named Arnie Haddick. They are placed in a cell, and Rosemary climbs the bars to check if they go all the way to the ceiling.
Rosemary and Harlow’s joint arrest solidifies the connection between them, but this passage also hints at a key difference between the characters. Harlow’s mention of the drama department indicates that her wild behavior seems to be motivated by a love of performance and melodrama. Rosemary, however, behaves in a more animalistic way, climbing the cell bars like a monkey.
Themes
Humans vs. Animals Theme Icon
Normalcy vs. Deviance Theme Icon
After several hours, Rosemary and Harlow are “processed.” Harlow is charged with destruction of property and creating a public nuisance; Rosemary faces the same charges in addition to assaulting an officer. Harlow calls her boyfriend, Reg, who collects her immediately. Rosemary calls her parents, hoping her mother will answer, but instead reaches her father. He admits that he always assumed Lowell would be the one to call from jail, and Rosemary is surprised by this mention of her brother. At first, Rosemary speaks to her father in a breezy, irreverent manner; however, she then suddenly bursts into tears. Her father manages to get put through to Officer Haddick and persuades him to reduce and then drop all the charges. In exchange, Rosemary is forced to promise she will come home for Thanksgiving, which she sees as “a heavy price” to pay.
At first Rosemary and Harlow both indulged in their own deviance with a kind of carefree recklessness. However, at this moment both retreat into a more cooperative and submissive way of being. Despite the abuse she was hurling at Reg only hours ago, Harlow is now more than happy to be collected by him. Meanwhile, Rosemary attempts a brash, defiant attitude with her father, but quickly crumples into tears and agrees to come home for Thanksgiving. Rebelliousness and deviance can be intoxicating in the moment, but this passage suggests that they often give way to feelings of shame and regret.
Themes
Family, Tradition, and the Past Theme Icon
Absence, Silence, and Denial Theme Icon
Normalcy vs. Deviance Theme Icon