Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 430
“Son of the Wolfman” focuses on how the consequences of a rape affect the marriage of Cara Glanzman and Richard Case. The story looks at both characters equally, treating them objectively yet compassionately, focusing more on the confusion of their inner lives than on their actions.
Cara and Richard are both thirty-four and have been together twelve years. Cara’s failure to become pregnant, despite trying most of the methods known to medical science, has placed a great burden on the last five years of their marriage. Cara begins looking into getting a divorce on the day the Reservoir Rapist attacks her while she jogs around Lake Hollywood. The day before he is arrested, she learns she is pregnant. She decides to have an abortion but, without consulting Richard, changes her mind at the last minute.
The marriage becomes increasingly strained as the pregnancy progresses, with a silent Richard tending to Cara’s needs merely out of a sense of duty. Never asking about her decision, he sulks most of the time. He refuses to understand why Cara wants a midwife and feels intimidated by Dorothy Pendleton, who seems constantly to be judging him.
Dorothy sees bringing Richard to see his obligations as a father—even after she learns the biological truth—as part of her job. She does everything she can to entice him into participating in the preparations for the delivery of the child he hates. When Dorothy intuitively guesses that the baby will be a boy, Richard calls it Wolfman Junior because it is the son of a monster.
Cara is determined that the birth not be induced because the pregnancy began as something over which she had no control and she does not want it to end that way. When the baby’s due date passes, Dorothy suggests that Cara’s having sexual intercourse with her husband will initiate the birth, but Richard has moved out, never returning from an assignment in Seattle. Cara feels sorry that Richard has moved in with the older brother he has never liked. Answering her plea for help, Richard comes to her in the middle of the night and agrees to renew their intimacy.
When Cara’s contractions begin, Richard rushes her to the nearest hospital. After Dorothy arrives, she and a physician’s assistant force Richard to stay with Cara. He gradually becomes caught up in the event and, remembering he is a cameraman, buys a disposable camera from a vending machine to photograph the infant’s arrival. The story ends with the three seemingly united as a family.
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