We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Part 1, Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Reg points out that the Tarzan books are racist, and Rosemary decides to go home. At the apartment, she discusses the evening with Todd, and privately reflects that Reg was in the wrong but that it was “indiscreet” of her to mention Tarzan at all. The next day Rosemary asks Ezra to hand over her suitcase, which was delivered to the apartment building while she was out. Ezra makes her wait a couple of days, claiming he is too busy to return it immediately; when he eventually does so, he mentions that Rosemary’s brother “Travers” came by and asked for her the day before. Rosemary finds it hard to believe that her brother has come looking for, but is persuaded by the fact that he called himself Travers, as Lowell “would never have used his real name.” Rosemary asks Ezra if her brother mentioned coming back, but Ezra gives a deliberately vague reply.
Lowell has still not made a direct appearance in the narrative, and this—combined with the fact that Rosemary has failed to give an explanation of his original disappearance—creates a strong sense of mystique about his character. This mystique is further intensified by his use of a false name. Lowell apparently possesses the family trait of dishonesty, and this seems to be related to his mysterious absence. A further sense of mystery arises through the case of the missing suitcase and Ezra’s deliberately unhelpful response to Rosemary’s question. The overwhelming secrecy here helps build narrative suspense.
Themes
Humans vs. Animals Theme Icon
Family, Tradition, and the Past Theme Icon
Absence, Silence, and Denial Theme Icon
Normalcy vs. Deviance Theme Icon
When Rosemary was young, she idolized Lowell, who was only occasionally nice to her in return. He was a talented poker player and taught Rosemary to be even better, and the two of them made money off his friends, who did not imagine a child as young as Rosemary could beat them at the game. Lowell once twisted the arm of a kid who had thrown a snowball with a rock in it at Rosemary, and afterward took Rosemary out for ice cream. Rosemary explains that she chose to attend UC Davis because it was far away from home and because the FBI had told her family that Lowell was living in Davis in 1987, a year after he left home. She fantasized that Lowell would show up at her door and tell her he missed her. The last time they saw each other, Rosemary was 11 and Lowell hated her. She concludes the chapter by noting that the returned suitcase is not hers.
Here Rosemary provides two contrasting pictures of Lowell. She states that he was only infrequently nice to her, yet emphasizes these rare occasions rather than the more common instances when he was unkind. In this way, Rosemary draws attention to her own bias. By only sharing positive memories, she implies that she wants the reader to think well of Lowell, rather than focus on his cruelty. At the same time, Rosemary does not totally whitewash Lowell. She notes, for example, that the FBI keeps track of Lowell’s movements—yet refuses to explain why. Through these techniques, Rosemary deliberately suspends the reader’s ability to draw conclusions about her brother.
Themes
Family, Tradition, and the Past Theme Icon
Absence, Silence, and Denial Theme Icon
Normalcy vs. Deviance Theme Icon