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 5, Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Rosemary is taken to an interrogation room and left there alone for a long time. She watches a pill bug crawl across the floor. Eventually, the officer returns and asks Rosemary to confirm that she is Lowell Cooke’s sister. She does, but then insists on speaking to a lawyer. The officer angrily points out that Rosemary is not under arrest, gets up, and leaves. Rosemary is allowed to go to the bathroom and is given a sandwich. She shivers and requests her jacket, and feels that she is becoming lost in a “fantasyland” of memories from the past. She reminds the reader about the period immediately after Fern’s disappearance, when she was taken to live with her grandparents. She will now relay what she believes happened just before.
This scene emphasizes the notion that Rosemary has become more capable and mature over the course of the novel. Whereas before she did not cope well with her interactions with police—recall that she phoned her father crying the first time she was arrested—in this passage she remains lucid and composed, refusing to answer the officer’s questions and requesting a lawyer. At the same time, Rosemary’s new maturity has not helped her to escape the traumatic memories of her past and the constant encroachment of her family into her life in the present.
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