Boekverslag : Ira Levin - Rosemary’s Baby
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Short content

( A few fragments are put into the content)

The main characters are Guy and Rosemary Woodhouse. They want to move into a very wonderful apartment in the Bramford. One of their very good friends, Mr. Hutch, wants to talk them out of the apartment. They don’t really believe what he is saying. According him, there have some very strange things happened..

The former occupant, Mrs. Gardenia, died in a very strange way, people still don’t know why, or even how.

Rosemary meets a girl, named Terry Gionoffrio, she is a girl that stays with the Castevet’s, the neighbours of Guy and Rosemary.

“I’m sorry, Rosemary said, I thought you were Anna- Maria Alberghetti, so I’ve been staring at you, I’m sorry. The girl blushed and smiled and looked at the floor a few feet to her side. ‘That happens a lot, you don’t have to apologise. People have been thinking I’m Maria since I was, oh, just a kid, when she first started out in ‘Here she comes The Groom’. She looked at rosemary, still blushing but no longer smiling. ‘I don’t see the resemblance at all, ’she said, ‘I’m of Italian parentage like she is, but no physical resemblance.”(blz. 29)

A few days later she commits suicide, she just jumps out of the window. Guy and rosemary meet the Castevet’s, and Mrs. Castevet invites them for dinner. They have dinner there, and the Castevet’s seems to be very nice people, but Rosemary finds out that they aren’t that nice at all. Mrs Castevet keeps coming all the time. It’s starting to annoy her very much.

One night, when Guy comes back home, and tells Rosemary that he has got a role in a theatre play. Donald, the guy who first got that part, has turned blind (that is very weird by the way, in the whole book, some weird things happen) He also tells Rosemary, that he wants a child of her. That night, Guy gives Rosemary chocolatmousse, made by Minnie Castevet, that she didn’t eat all, (and that has very bad consequences). But she starts to feel a little bit dizzy, and she goes to bed. She dreams about Guy that night, she is in a bed, and the neighbours, the Castevet’s, and a few friends are standing there naked around her. Guy, wears a costume and his eyes are yellow. (She doesn’t know that it is all reality, the man all dressed up, is the devil, and not Guy) The next morning, when she wakes up, Guy tells her that he wanted to have a baby so bad, that he had sex with her while she was asleep. Rosemary got really mad at him, and she goes to a friend to stay there for a while.

Rosemary went to her doctor, Dr Hill, and she feels a lot better after that. He tells her that she is pregnant, and also tells her to come again. Roman and Minnie Castevet advise her to go to a friend of them, Dr. Sapirstein. (What Rosemary doesn’t know, is that he is also one of the people that admirers the devil) Rosemary has a lot of pain in her stomach, and she makes an appointment with Dr, Sapirstein. He tells her to drink a medicine, which is made by Minnie.

Rosemary tells Hutch that she is pregnant, and they make an appointment the next day. But he doesn’t show op, and she starts to be very upset. She gets a call from Grace, one of Hutch’ friends, she tells her that Hutch is in a coma in the hospital. A few days later he is dead. Grace gives her a book that Hutch wanted her to have. It is called: “All of them witches”. She starts reading the book, and she sees a similitude about her situation and the situation in the book. Little by little she is believing that Guy is a witch, and Minnie and roman Castevet too. She tries to convince other people, but nobody believes her. She thinks Guy wants the baby for a group of witches. She tries to get help again, but again nobody believes her. All the members of the “witchgroup” are in the Bramford, and she has to come with them. They give her something, so that she is falling to sleep. When they wake her up, they say that the baby is dead. She doesn’t believe that, and she finds out that there is a secret door to the apartment next door.

When she finds her baby in the Castevets’ apartment she sees he has yellow/black eyes, claws as hands and a tail too. The entire witch club is there and they convince her not to tell anyone of Adrian’s birth and they ask her to be a mother to the child if she wants to. It is weird but Rosemary decides to go ahead with this and is allowed to take care of Adrian, now being called Andrew, if he can serve Satan later.

Plot, theme, setting, point of view

 The whole story excists from one part, because the story is told in the I-form, Rosemary, the book is written in the third person. The writer does write something about the other persons in the book, but not about the thoughts and the feelings these persons have. If the writer did this, then the story wouldn’t be that exciting any more, because you would have known what they were planning to do.

 The thrilling stays in the beginning of the book away, but when Rosemary finds out that the persons around her, are not to be trust, the story begins to be more exciting. Now you know that the people around her are all just in the same intrigue and that the small things become suspicious. Because the writer exactly describes her thoughts, you are thinking with her and that makes it so exciting.

‘Honey, Guy said, ‘don’t get excited. Let’s… Read what they do, Guy,’ she said, holding the book open at him and jabbing a page with her forefinger. ‘They use blood in their rituals, because blood has power, and the blood that has the most power is a baby’s blood, a baby that hasn’t been baptized; and they use more than the blood, they use the flesh too!’

For God’s sake, Rosemary!’ Why have they been so friendly to us?’ she demanded. Because they’re friendly people! What do you think they are, maniacs?’ (blz 150)

( Rosemary verdenkt Minnie, Roman, Laura Louise, the Fountains, the Gilmores en the Weeses ervan, dat ze heksen zijn)

 The story is in chronoligical order, there aren’t really flashbacks, but there are some retrospects in the form of a thought.

 The story takes place in the Bramford, in New York City. It’s a building with apartments, built in the Victorian age. The building is old, black, and the apartments are warren and have high ceilings. Rosemary and Guy live in a four-room apartment. It has a bad reputation but is nevertheless popular and expensive. The writer doesn’t tell you much about the surroundings, but he does tell you what the appartment looks like.

“Farther along the hallway there was a guest closet on the left, and then, on the right, a wide archway opening on to the living-room. Large bay windows stood opposite, two of them, with diamond panes and three-side windows seats. There was a small fireplace in the right-hand wall, with a scrolled white marble mantel, and there were high bookshelves on the left.

‘Oh Guy’ Rosemary said, finding his hand and squeezing. Guy said ‘MMM,’ non committally but squeezed back; Mr Micklas was beside them.”(blz.13/14)

 Narrator: You only see Rosemary’s thoughts, and doings. It’s not a first person narrator, because there is no “I” in the story. It’s a third person narrator.

 In this story the third person is the view. The story is told from a he and she, but actually you only know what Rosemary thinks and feels, the feelings and thoughts from the other persons are not told.

“But Guy couldn’t have been mistaken either. He didn’t get free tickets every day of the week; he must have remembered who gave them to him. Had he deliberately lied to her? Perhaps he hadn’t been given the tickets at all, but had found and kept them. No, there might have been a scene at the theatre; he wouldn’t have exposed her to that.”( blz. 161)

 The theme are: love (the love of Rosemary for Guy), satanism, deceit. The theme is a mixture of these three subthemes.

The titel “Rosemary’s baby” refers to the baby Rosemary bears. It refers to satan’s baby.

Main characters

* Rosemary woodhouse:

Rosemary is the most important character in the story: She is about 25.

After she and her husband Guy have moved in the Bramford building, she is

happy at first, she finds the apartment just perfect. But later on, she is getting suspicious

about her neighbours, she thinks that they are all in a club of witches who adore Satan,

because she hears strange music at night, and because of certain people

warning her, and telling her what are specific witch-like behaviour and


Just after a long time, when it is too late, she finds out and tries to

prevent the evil: She thinks they want to sacrifice her baby, which is not

true; they want the baby to be the messiah of Satan. At first she thinks

they are just a couple of crazy people without real powers, but later on she

finds out they do practice real witchcraft.

Rosemary is a rather unsure person: if people tell her things, she believes them and thinks she's just being silly. Guy tells her she must not be so suspicious about the neighbours, “they are just friendly people”, Guy tells her when she thinks that they are witches.

Guy woodhouse:

Guy is Rosemary's husband. At first he is the all-caring husband, but later

on he is in the intrigue to; he is working with the witchclub because they promised him if he would agree his child become the Satan’s messiah, the witchclub would blind the actor with whom Guy is fighting about a film role. This would mean his breaktrough in the showbusiness. He is an actor so it would be very important for him.He is a very untrustable person, he fools his own wife just for his own sake. That’s rather selfish, but he doesn’t care about that at all.

Minnie and roman casevet:

Minnie and Roman are Rosemary and Guy's neighbours in the Bramford: they

seem to be the leaders of the whole witchclub. Roman's father was known to

have had something to do with witchery too; that's why Roman changed his

name. Minnie brings Rosemary a drink of evil herbs and tells Rosemary she has to drink it every day during her pregnancy, just because of the vitamins. She seems to be a warmhearted

good talking old lady, which is not true, because she is also a witch. Roman, Minnie's husband, is a quiet old man, but he is in the plot to.


Hutch is a middle-aged friend of Rosemary's. He advises Rosemary and Guy not to move into the Bramford because of the bad stories about it. Later on he comes and visits them; he meets Roman there and asks some suspicious questions about tannis root and the Bramford, and Roman finds him dangerous. When Hutch calls Rosemary the next day to meet him somewhere to tell her something, Roman has to stop him and with the witch-club they put

Hutch into a coma. After some months Hutch awakes from his coma only to die:

he orders the doctors to give Rosemary a certain book, and then dies.

In this book Rosemary reads all about witches and witchcraft and finds out

about the truth.

Dr. Sapirstein:

Dr. Sapirstein is the doctor of Minnie, and Roman advised Rosemary to do the

birth: he is in the plot. Rosemary finds out because he smells of the strange herbs.

He is a very intelligent and good doctor. If she gets heavy pains in her stomach, probably because of Satanbaby, Sapirstein says that's very normal, and lets her suffer.

Guy watched her for a moment. ‘What about Dr Sapirstein?’ he said. ‘Is he in the coven too?’ She turned and looked at him. ‘After all,’ she said, ‘there’ve been maniac doctors, haven’t there? His bid ambition is probably to make house calls on a broomstick. She turned to the window again, her face sober. ‘No, I don’t think he’s one of them,’ she said. He’s – too intelligent.’ (blz 151)

Elise, Joan and tiger:

Elise, Joan and Tiger are friends of Rosemary's: she invites them on a party

to celebrate her expecting a baby. When she tells them about her pains, they

advise her to take a second opinion about them from another doctor than Dr.

Hill. But Guy forbids it: he says that would be 'unfair' to Dr. Sapirstein.

Terry gionoffrio:

Terry is a girl adopted by the Casevets: just as Rosemary thinks she has a

good neighbour of her own age, Terry commits suicide. Minnie and Roman

probably did it or she was being forced by them to do it, the book doesn't tell.

Dr. Hill:

Dr. Hill is the doctor whom Rosemary attends to at first, but after a short time she

is pushed to take Dr. Sapirstein. Dr. Hill is a good doctor and Rosemary

wants him back because of her untreated pains, but they suddenly stop and

she doesn't.

Later on, when she finds out about the whole witch-plot, she goes to him to

do her birth. But Dr. Hill thinks she's crazy and let her husband and Dr.

Sapirstein take her away.


Laura-Louise is part of the witch-club and a friend of Minnie's: After the

full truth is told to Rosemary, and her baby said to be dead-born, is

taken away from her, Laura-Louise is supposed to look after her.

Donald baumgart:

Donald Baumgart is the actor made blind by the witches for Guy's career: he

is a sober and quiet man.

Minor Characters

 In the book there weren’t very clear minor characters. Because all the persons had an important role in the story. The main character is ofcourse Rosemary, but the other persons all have a very important role.

Taal en toon

 The structure and the language usage in the book are pretty hard. The are many difficult words and the sentences are often long. It costs some effort to come trough, there are all the time difficult words and then you have to get the dictionary so you can understand the line. (het volgende is een voorbeeld van een veel te lange zin, naar mijn mening)

An argument developed between Guy and Bertillon over Actors Equity’s policy of blocking the employment of foreign actors – Guy thought it was right, Bertillon thought it was wrong – and though the others present buried the disagreement under a quick tide of jokes and gossip, Guy took Rosemary away soon after, at a few minutes past twelvethirty. (blz 35)

 There are many descriptions and lots of dialogs. The dialogs are about everything and are not very long. The descriptions are very extensive. They are mostly about the appartment and the surrounding appartments. The looks of the persons are not described.

 The tone (leading) is very serious, there isn’t much humor in the story. Actually there isn’t humor at all.

De schrijver

Ira Levin (New York, 27 augustus 1929) is een Amerikaanse schrijver van korte verhalen, romans, toneelstukken en songteksten. Hij debuteerde met de spannende roman A kiss before dying. Maar hij maakte pas echt naam met het boek, en later verfilmde boek Rosemary’s baby. (1967) In 1997 verscheen er een vervolg op Rosemary’s baby, Son of Rosemary. Maar die was lang niet zo succesvol als Rosemary’s baby.

Ira Levin heeft verschillende boeken geschreven:

 This perfect day (1970)

 The stepford wives (1972)

 The boys from Brazil (1976)

 Deathtrap (1978, toneel)

Je mening over het boek

Het eind spreekt me het meest aan, want daar laat de schrijver duidelijk zien, dat de liefde van de moeder voor haar kind onoverwinnelijk is. Rosemary houdt van haar kind, hoe lelijk hij ook is. Al had ik niet gedacht dat Rosemary meegaat in het voorstel van de heksen. Ze laat zich overhalen om voor het kind te zorgen, ik had gedacht dat ze voor hem zou vechten.

“ He couldn’t be all bad, he just couldn’t. Even if he was half Satan, wasn’t he half her as well, half decent, ordinary, sensible human being? If she worked against them, exerted a good influence to counteract their bad one….

‘You have a room of your own, did you know that?’ she said, undoing the blanket around him, which was also too tight. ‘It has white and yellow wallpaper and a white crib with yellow bumpers, and there isn’t one drop of witchy old black in the whole place….”(blz.204)

De persoon die me het meest aanspreekt is Rosemary. Zij spreekt mij het meest aan omdat ze hoe dan ook gewoon haar eigen zin doet. Ze laat zich steeds een beetje beïnvloeden door Guy, maar later wijkt ze daar ook weer vanaf. Ze heeft een sterke persoonlijkheid, en als ze iets wil zet ze gewoon door. Als ze bijvoorbeeld dat drankje van Minnie krijgt, dan neemt ze het eerst wel, maar als ze vermoedt dat Minnie en Roman ook wat met die duivelaanbidders te maken heeft, gooit ze het elke keer weg in de gootsteen. De pijnen in haar buik worden daardoor wel erger, maar dat kan haar niks schelen.

Ik heb langzamerhand een hekel gekregen aan Guy. Vooral omdat hij steeds liegt tegen Rosemary, en hij gewoon niks vertelt over de manier waarop hij die rol in dat theaterstuk heeft gekregen. En dat hij bij die aanbidders zit. Zijn persoonlijkheid zelf spreekt me wel aan, maar de manier waarop hij er mee omgaat vind ik niets.

Ik ben geraakt door (alweer) de laatste passage, want daar laat de schrijver toch zien dat de moederliefde altijd blijft bestaan. Ook de passages waarin Rosemary het na een ruzie weer goed maakt met Guy. In het volgende stukje is ze net een paar dagen weg geweest, en belt ze Guy op.

“ She went into Brewster at six and called and he was there.

‘Hi darling, ’he said ‘how are you?’

‘ Fine. How are you?’

‘All right, I miss you.’

She smiled at the phone. ‘I miss you, she said. I’m coming home tomorrow.’

Er zijn niet echt passages die ik echt moeilijk vind, of die nou echt kenmerkend zijn voor het boek, er komen wel meerdere soorten passages in voor.

Ik zou aan Rosemary wel willen vragen waarom ze nou nog bij Guy is, want ik zou al lang bij hem weg zijn gegaan. Meteen al de ochtend nadat ze in verwachting geraakt was, dat hij daarover durfde te liegen, dat zou ik echt erg vinden.

Er zijn wel bepaalde delen in het boek die wat ouderwets zijn. Maar dat komt praktisch niet voor. Bijna alle aspecten zijn tijdloos in dit verhaal, het zou zo nu kunnen gebeuren. Het is natuurlijk geen realiteit, want dat is natuurlijk helemaal niet mogelijk.

De film die van dit boek gemaakt is, is echt veel minder interessant, want het is moeilijk dit boek te verfilmen. Want in een film is het wat moeilijk gedachten te verwerken. Ook de gebeurtenissen zijn heel verschillend in de film en in het boek. Het boek is gewoon veel beter. In de film was ook niet iets van een thriller te bekennen, dat zou het wel moeten zijn. Het boek is gewoon veel spannender.


Het boek was erg goed geschreven, maar niet echt realistisch. Volgens mij is het niet mogelijk dat de duivel naar de aarde komt om een kind te verwekken bij een onschuldige vrouw. Het hele verhaal is erg goed opgezet, de gebeurtenissen zijn heel erg realistisch geschreven. Je denkt: dat kan niet, maar de manier waarop er geschreven wordt, maakt je toch aan het twijfelen. Het is gewoon een goed boek, die je zeker een keer gelezen moet hebben, in het Engels of in het Nederlands.

Andere boeken van deze auteur:

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