We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Part 1, Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Part 1, Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Although Rosemary finds the gesture with the journals moving, she has no desire to read them. She is thus somewhat relieved when her suitcase containing the journals is lost by the airline on the flight home. Arriving back at her apartment, she is surprised to hear music playing, as her roommate, Todd, is not supposed to be back yet. She is even more shocked to find Harlow sitting on the sofa, drinking one of Rosemary’s sodas. Rosemary does not know how to react, and Harlow eventually explains that Reg kicked her out and that she thought Rosemary wouldn’t be back until tomorrow. Rosemary asks how Harlow knew where she lives; Harlow replies that she got the address from the police report, and persuaded Rosemary’s apartment manager to let her in.
Harlow rebels against every social convention and expectation for human behavior. She violates Rosemary’s privacy and property in a deliberately egregious manner, and does not seem interested in following any normal custom of politeness. Note that, beyond surprise, Rosemary does not give a sense of her reaction to Harlow’s breaking-and-entering. While Harlow’s previous deviant behavior made Rosemary feel a certain affinity with her, at this stage it is unclear whether Harlow has taken things a step too far. Will Rosemary draw a line when it comes to her own apartment?
Themes
Family, Tradition, and the Past Theme Icon
Absence, Silence, and Denial Theme Icon
Science, Knowledge, and Experiments Theme Icon
Normalcy vs. Deviance Theme Icon
The next morning, Rosemary’s toilet breaks and she calls the apartment manager, Ezra Metzger, who arrives immediately and asks if Harlow is there. Rosemary says that Harlow has gone back home to her boyfriend and scolds Ezra for letting her in. Ezra protests that a large number of women are killed each year by their boyfriends, and that he was trying to save Harlow’s life. Harlow’s hair and trash is strewn across the apartment.
It is beginning to become obvious that part of what allows Harlow to get away with her outrageous behavior is the fact that men seem to fall in love with her easily. Not only does Reg keep taking her back, but Ezra allows himself to be totally manipulated by her even though they have just met. Rosemary’s attraction to Harlow, on the other hand, seems different and for now remains unexplained.
Themes
Absence, Silence, and Denial Theme Icon
Normalcy vs. Deviance Theme Icon
Todd is the child of a bitter divorce, and once told Rosemary that it must be nice to have a “normal” family like hers. Todd is furious about Harlow’s intrusion, asking if they need to now change the locks. Later that night, Rosemary’s mother calls to say that although she promised never to speak about the past, she feels that “a weight’s been lifted” now that she has given Rosemary the journals. Todd’s girlfriend Kimmy comes over and Rosemary retires to her room to read The Mosquito Coast, thinking: “There seemed to be no end to the insane things fathers did to their families.”
Once again, the perception of normalcy—particularly when it comes to families—is shown to be unreliable. Todd believes that Rosemary’s family is normal just because her parents aren’t divorced, but in fact all this really means is that her family is unlike Todd’s family. Rosemary leaves a further hint about her family’s lack of normalcy within the comment about the crimes of fathers. Clearly, her father has done something that is yet to be revealed.
Themes
Family, Tradition, and the Past Theme Icon
Absence, Silence, and Denial Theme Icon
Normalcy vs. Deviance Theme Icon