62 pages 2 hours read

Joyce Carol Oates

We Were the Mulvaneys

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1996

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Part 1, Chapters 14-21Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 1: “Family Pictures”

Chapter 14 Summary: “Imminent Mortality”

Corinne takes the hysterical Marianne to Dr. Oakley. Marianne tells him, “in a small almost inaudible voice that she’d been ‘hurt’” (134), but she refuses to divulge the boy’s name, as “she did not believe that what had happened had been his fault to any degree more than it had been her fault” (134). She was drunk and he took her to his car, where she vomited and struggled, but “she could not speak in absolute certainty about any of this” (135). Dr. Oakley confirms after examination, that Marianne has been raped.

The truth of Marianne’s rape will forever change the family; “once they shared the bitter knowledge, never again would he be able to look at her in the old way” (131). Corinne waits for Michael in the converted barn, not in the house. When Corinne tells him something has happened to Marianne, Michael’s reaction scares Corinne: “he was having difficulty breathing and grasped at both her hands, his face suddenly ashen, eyes an old man’s eyes, watery and incredulous” (136). Patrick finds his parents in a state of shock.