We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves


Karen Joy Fowler

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We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves: Part 4, Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

After Dr. Sosa’s lecture ends, Rosemary meets Harlow at a hamburger restaurant, where she plans to get drunk. She is considering telling Harlow about the lecture, and thus is annoyed to see Reg there too. To Rosemary’s dismay, Harlow has also brought Madame Defarge. Harlow is filled with excitement about an upcoming gender-reversed production of Macbeth for which she will be making the sets and costumes. Rosemary steadily becomes drunk and sweaty. She admits that she also takes “a couple of pills” from Harlow. Eventually, Rosemary begins to tell Reg about “the mirror test,” the practice of using mirrors in order to evaluate the self-awareness of monkeys. Reg seems uninterested and comments that Rosemary “sure talk[s] a lot.”
This passage confirms Rosemary’s fear that hanging out with Harlow will again bring out the “monkey girl” within her. Not only does Rosemary behave recklessly and even discuss monkeys explicitly, but she returns to her childhood habit of talking incessantly. Reg’s comment that Rosemary talks a lot suggests that personality is a lot more flexible and less consistent than is often assumed. For the past 12 years, Rosemary has defined herself as an exceptionally quiet person; however, one night of recklessness completely reverses this impression.
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