Rosemary's Baby

Rosemary's Baby Summary and Analysis of Rosemary's First Term


Rosemary awakens the next morning feeling groggy and hung over. Guy spanks her, grumpily demanding breakfast. She finds scratch marks all over her body, and Guy jokes that she shouldn't worry because he's already filed his nails down. When he tells her, "I didn't wanna miss baby night," Rosemary realizes that he raped her while she was unconscious. Guy makes a crude necrophilia joke, and Rosemary tells him she dreamed something "inhuman" was raping her. She tells him he could have waited until the morning, and Guy defends himself by saying he was drunk too.

Rosemary returns Minnie's mousse mugs, and confronts Guy about the fact that he seems to no longer look her in the eyes. When he moves to reassure her, she quickly drops the subject. Rosemary goes to see a doctor named Dr. Hill, who gives her a check up and draws blood. Soon after, he calls to congratulate Rosemary on her pregnancy. Over the phone, Dr. Hill tells her she will need to take Natalin pills and have her blood drawn again to test her blood sugar levels. Rosemary looks at her calendar and writes, "BLOOD" in red ink on Monday, November 1st, 1965.

Rosemary stands waiting for Guy to come home that evening, with a quarter in her outstretched palm—a symbol of her pregnancy. Guy is surprised but happy, and Rosemary emphasizes to him that she wants the pregnancy to signal "a new beginning" in their relationship, defined by transparency and communication. Guy once again apologizes for his careerism and self-centeredness, and then suggests that they share the good news with Minnie and Roman. Figuring it will make them happy, Rosemary tells Guy to go and tell them.

Guy bursts forth back into the apartment flanked by Minnie and Roman, who have a bottle of wine and are eager to celebrate. Rosemary tells Minnie she is due on June 28th, and Minnie recommends an obstetrician to her named Abe Sapirstein who caters to high society clients. Minnie calls Abe on the spot, and arranges for an appointment for Rosemary for the following morning. Minnie says she can't wait to tell Laura-Louise the good news, but Rosemary asks her to keep the news private for the time being. They toast "to a fine, healthy baby."

That night, Rosemary whispers potential baby names aloud to herself, and rises from the bed to put on the Tannis root necklace. The following morning, Dr. Sapirstein tells Rosemary that she should neither read books about pregnancy nor listen to her friends' advice about childbirth. Instead of the pills prescribed by Dr. Hill, Dr. Sapirstein tells Rosemary to imbibe a daily vitamin drink from Minnie Castevets' herbarium. Over at Minnie's, Rosemary drinks the mixture, which Minnie jokingly says contains "snips and snails and puppy-dogs' tails," before revealing its real contents: a raw egg, gelatin, herbs, Tannis root, and some "other things."

Rosemary returns to the apartment one night having cut her hair into a short, cropped style. Guy openly expresses displeasure at her haircut. She tells him she's been experiencing a sharp pain since Monday, and at her Wednesday visit with Sapirstein, the doctor assures her that it's a "natural expansion of the pelvis," and openly scoffs at her suggestion that it might have been an ectopic pregnancy. In the middle of a game of Scrabble, Rosemary looks at herself in the mirror and decides that she looks awful. Guy says she looks fine, and that her appearance has only been marred by her haircut, which he calls, "the worst mistake" of her life.

Visiting Rosemary, Hutch cannot believe how wan and frail she looks. Still thinking of Guy's comments about her hair, Rosemary jokingly responds, "It's Vidal Sassoon and it's very in." Hutch asks why she is losing weight when pregnant women should be gaining weight. He is flabbergasted to learn that Abraham Sapirstein, a renowned obstetrician whom he personally knows, thinks she has only lost three pounds, but supposes that they should trust him, given his credentials and fee. Roman knocks on the door, checking to see if Rosemary needs anything, and she invites him inside. Rosemary notices Roman has pierced ears.

Roman explains to Hutch that Rosemary has been taking Minnie's vitamin drinks, given Dr. Sapirstein's suspicion of commercially available pills and preference for fresh, natural supplements. Rosemary says she likes the idea of an herbal supplement like Tannis root, but a confused Hutch asks whether they mean anise or orris. Rosemary shows Hutch the Tannis charm on her necklace, and Hutch says it looks more like mold or fungus than a root. Roman leaves and Guy arrives home, seemingly in a rush. Rosemary tells Guy that she noticed Roman has pierced ears, and Guy apologizes to Hutch that they have not made time to see him of late. Grabbing his coat, Hutch realizes he is missing a glove, and they are unable to find it. Rosemary tells Guy Hutch told her she looks terrible, and Guy grumpily reassures Rosemary that Hutch is a pessimist, a busybody, and a "professional crape-hanger."


Rosemary and Guy's exchange the morning after the rape highlights the breakdowns in communication, empathy, and trust that drive a wedge between male and female domains of experience, a common theme in Gothic literature. Already a satanic collaborator, Guy has rehearsed a convincing "morning after" performance to reassure Rosemary that he merely had sex with her after she fell asleep so as not to miss "baby night." In fact, Rosemary, the curious, reliable heroine in this Gothic narrative, remembers the truth: that some supernatural, "inhuman" entity raped her.

The rift between Rosemary's own opinions and those of the male authority figures around her—a theme expressed in this scene, as well as by her tendency to confess to men in her dreams—continues to drive the plot of the film. Indeed, Rosemary's ability to make decisions for herself whittles away as other characters in the film all insist on intervening on her behalf. A domino effect quickly ensues: for example, Guy insists on telling the Castevets' about Rosemary's pregnancy, and then Minnie Castevet cajoles Rosemary into switching obstetricians from Dr. Hill to Dr. Sapirstein. Again, the glamorous shrouds the ominous: Minnie persuades Rosemary into seeing Dr. Sapirstein by assuring her that he delivers all the "society" babies.

A conspirator and coven member, Dr. Sapirstein immediately tries to limit Rosemary's agency around her own pregnancy by advising that she neither read books nor listen to friends' advice. He does so under the auspices of sound medical counsel, which allows him to flout logic and insulates him from criticism, in order to keep Rosemary as oblivious as possible about the true nature of her pregnancy. The tension between trusting authority and perceiving reality produces highly ironic discontents, such as when an emaciated Rosemary tells Hutch that Dr. Sapirstein thinks she's only lost three pounds. Due to the intensifying conspiracy, Rosemary slowly loses the ability to trust her own perceptions. Most horrifyingly, Dr. Sapirstein refuses to acknowledge Rosemary's reports of physical pain.

Minnie's "vitamin mixtures" also compromise Rosemary's bodily autonomy, underwritten by the authority of Dr. Sapirstein's recommendation. In keeping with her blunt, forward style, Minnie actually cracks a witchcraft jokes—saying the mixture contains "snips and snails and puppy dog tails," to assuage Rosemary's fears. The Castevets' strategy of "hiding in plain sight" reaffirms the fact that this is a thoroughly modern Gothic narrative—one whose evil, supernatural villains are thoroughly modern and aware of the tropes and conventions of the genre in which they exist.

One can interpret Rosemary's haircut as a gesture she performs in order to regain a sense of control over her body and life. The short, modern haircut reflects the chic, waif-ish style popularized in the 1960s by fashion models like Twiggy. Guy's response to it is deeply telling: he becomes sullen and resentful of the fact that Rosemary has exercised autonomy over her own body without his permission. Meanwhile, he, like Dr. Sapirstein, continues to ignore Rosemary's experiences of abdominal pain. Polanski critiques patriarchal attitudes toward women by emphasizing the fact that Guy is more disturbed by having to look at Rosemary's new haircut than by her complaints that she is suffering from severe pain.