Rosemary Smith is Lily Casey and Jim Smith’s daughter, who was born in 1932. Being a baby, she reminds Lily of her sister, Helen, who had also been that beautiful:
“Most babies looked to me like monkeys or Buddhas, but Rosemary was a beautiful thing. When her hair came in, it was so pale and fine it looked white. By the time she was three months old, she had a wide smile to match her merry green eyes and even early on it seemed to me she looked a lot like Helen” (p. 119, ll. 5 - 9).
Growing up, Rosemary stays beautiful: “A lot of pretty girls lost their looks when they reached adolescence, but Rosemary was still a stunner” (p. 228, l. 11 f.). The modelling career, however, Lily wants her daughter to make, fails: “But at the first photo session, when the photographer told her to flirt with the camera, she couldn’t stop giggling self-consciously, and the man shook his head” (p. 228, ll. 23 - 25).
Since Rosemary is not very disciplined
, Lily has to cancel the piano lessons, too. Drawing, Rosemary is happy and finds herself64
. Lily decides to let her daughter attend drawing lessons at Ernestine, a local artist. She loves drawing and improves her skills:
“If there’s something about the world that you don’t like, you can paint a painting that makes it the way you want it to be. […] With Ernestine’s lessons, Rosemary’s paintings became less and less about the thing she was painting and more about the way she was feeling at the moment” (p. 229, ll. 18 - 22).
Rosemary and her parents live in Ash Fork for two years, and when her brother, Little Jim, is born, they move to the AIC ranch. Rosemary loves to live on the ranch. She loves nature and the animals, which she does not want to be caged because she feels sorry for them
“Rosemary was never afraid of coyotes or wolves, and she hated to see any animal caged, tied up or penned in. She even thought that the chickens should be freed from the coop, that the risk of being eaten by a coyote was a price worth paying for freedom” (p. 141, ll. 21 - 25).
When they have to leave their home in 1945, Rosemary is very sad and feels rootless
. Talking to her mother a few years later, she says: “I feel like I haven’t really had a home since I left the ranch. I don’t think I’ll ever have a home again.” (p. 263, l. 26 f.).
Her conception of freedom
is also shown, when she goes to the girl’s school in Prescott in 1941. She behaves extremely different than all the other students:
“Rosemary’s teachers, however, saw her as a misfit. Most of the girls at the academy were demure, frail things, but Rosemary played with her pocketknife […] and caught scorpions in a jar she kept under her bed. […] The nuns saw Rosemary as a wild child […] [and] also complained that she made inappropriate comments” (p. 192, ll. 6 - 21).
Furthermore, she “stand[s] up for herself” (cp. p. 192, l. 31) – but in a dubious way:
“One night, […] when she was doing the dishes, a classmate started teasing her about her father, saying “Your dad thinks he’s John Wayne”. “My dad makes John Wayne look like a pussy”, Rosemary replied and dunked the girl’s head in the dishwater” (p. 192, ll. 31 - 25)
Because of her bad marks (which is not due to missing intelligence, but due to Rosemary’s refusal65
and her rude behaviour, Rosemary has to leave school in 1943. In the near term, Rosemary is taught by her mother. Later, she attends the St. Mary’s school. Wanting to become an artist, she studies art at the Arizona State University. Lily only allows her daughter to do so because Rosemary agrees making her teacher’s diploma. Rosemary’s lifetime dream is
“to live on the ranch and be an artist” (p. 194, l. 5)
Lily is not very happy about her daughter’s lifetime dream
. Her education methods are rather hard: When Rosemary tries to play hooky66
, for example, one day, Lily makes her spend a night in a hospital in order to educate her. When Rosemary is a small child, Lily already starts educating her in a dubious way:
“From the time she was three, I drilled Rosemary on her numbers. If she asked for a glass of milk, I told her she could have it only if she spelled out “milk”. I tried to make her see that everything in life – from Bossie to the cottage cheese – was a lesson, but it was up to her to figure out what she’d learned”, p. 145, ll. 13 - 17
Since Rosemary is a very sensitive person
, her mother’s education methods are not the right ones for her. She would need more love and understanding, but Lily keeps treating her rudely. When Rosemary defies Lily’s ban67
on going swimming with Fidel Hanna, a Havasupai she has fallen in love with, and a few other boys, Lily bashes her daughter for the first time. Rosemary is not able to come to terms with68
with her mother having beaten her. She reacts with a depression on the Hiroshima bomb69
When Lily is unsympathetic to70
her daughter’s pity for all the killed humans and animals, Rosemary turns away from her mother:
“But the fact of matter was, Rosemary hadn’t really listened to what I had to say ever since that time we visited the Havasupai and I gave her the whipping for swimming with Fidel Hanna” (p. 257, ll. 28 - 31)
64to find oneself: zu sich selbst finden
66to play hooky: die Schule schwänzen; krank spielen
67to defy s.th.: sich über etw. hinwegsetzen
68to come to terms with s.th.: mit etw. klar kommen
69On the 6th and 9th September of 1945, at the end of the Second World War, atomic bombs are thrown over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
70to be unsympathetic to s.th.: kein Verständnis für etw. haben