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Rosemary’s Baby

December 24, 2009

There isn’t much of a chance that I’ll forget about this book, since one of my favorite films follows it so closely. I was surprised at how little artistic liberties Polanski took with his horror masterpiece. It was interesting to note the differences that literary form and film form can create in tone and theme. The claustrophobia doesn’t come across as well in the novel that doesn’t have the convenient tool that framing can provide. Likewise, the maternal desperation of a bored housewife can be more thoroughly articulated through Rosemary’s inner dialogue in the novel.

In both versions of the narrative I get so frustrated with Guy. Obviously. The dude is an insane sexist, whose patriarchal views of male responsibility drive him to sacrifice the family he wishes to support. When Rosemary starts suspecting that her pregnancy is abnormal, she’s surrounded by men like Guy and Dr. Saperstein who pat her on the head and tell her to stop worrying as though she were the child. What can they possibly know about pregnancy? Ira Levin carefully presents a fairly generic horror plot through the eyes of the emerging feminist movement in 1967.

I’m still working out the implications of Rosemary’s maternal instincts at the end of the novel. Is this merely a way of saying that biology supersedes any feminist desire? Or, more likely, is it a way for Rosemary to take control in a closed society where she is consistently preyed upon and used for her body?

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One comment

  1. Of course, the insane sexist is named “Guy.” This book is sexist.



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