35 pages 1 hour read

Mary Beth Keane

Ask Again, Yes

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2019

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Character Analysis

Anne Stanhope

Anne is the wife of Brian Stanhope and the mother of Peter Stanhope. For most of the narrative, Anne seems like a cartoon villain. Despite a career as a nurse, a marriage to a New York City cop, and a beautiful home in the suburbs, she is constantly on edge. Her actions appear unfocused, selfish, paranoid, and unpredictable, suggesting a woman whose mind is unhinged. She is moody, disconnected from her family, and inexplicably hostile.

Anne’s extreme reaction to her son’s growing interest in Kate Gleeson appears to be unwarranted, even manic. Shooting the girl’s father over nothing appears to define her character: She is, as Kate so often suggests, crazy. Her real story is more complex. Following her mother’s suicide, she endured sexual abuse as a young adolescent and suffered the agony of having to carry a stillborn baby to term. She cannot rely on Brian, whose alcoholism keeps him separate and distant. After the shooting when she is hospitalized, she endures years of misdirected and ill-informed medical treatments before she finally connects with a qualified and nurturing psychotherapist.

Like many abuse survivors and those who have suffered trauma, Anne is paranoid, distrustful of emotional connections, and quick to anger.