Literature Study GuidesThe GodfatherBook 4 Chapter 15 Summary

The Godfather | Study Guide

Mario Puzo

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The Godfather | Book 4, Chapter 15 | Summary

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Summary

In Book 4, Chapter 15 of The Godfather, Kay Adams learns more about Michael Corleone. Two men from the New York Police Department visit Kay Adams at her parents' house. They warn Kay about staying involved with Michael Corleone because he is suspected of murdering Virgil Sollozzo and Captain McCluskey. Kay refuses to believe that Michael killed these people. In an effort to keep Kay away from Michael, the detectives threaten to tell her father, Mr. Adams, about her involvement with a suspected murderer. Kay calls her father into the room and tells the detectives to go ahead and tell him. When Mr. Adams hears the news, he takes it matter-of-factly, which surprises the detectives. Mr. Adams agrees to let the police know if Michael shows up at his house. After the detectives leave, an upset Kay has lunch with her father and mother. Kay learns that her parents know about Kay meeting Michael at Dartmouth. When she wonders how they found out, her parents admit that they opened Kay's mail. Shocked, Kay realizes her parent don't want her to have anything to do with Michael.

Kay visits the Corleone mall in Long Beach and talks with Tom Hagen. He assures her that Michael had nothing to do with the murders, but is lying low for a few months to avoid bad publicity. Hagen refuses to accept a letter from Kay to Michael. Mama Corleone kindly tells Kay that Michael will not write to her because he will be hiding for two or three years. She advises Kay to forget Michael and marry a "nice young fellow." Kay realizes Mama Corleone is saying Michael is a murderer.

Analysis

In Book 4, Chapter 15, Puzo describes another tangent to the story of the Corleones. This tangent involves Kay Adams and her parents. This family creates points of comparison and contrast to the Corleones. The author uses the theme of the patriarchal family to establish a connection between Kay and the Corleones. When Mama Corleone greets Kay, she does so in a kind, affectionate manner. In fact, Mama Corleone scolds Hagen for being rude to Kay. Mama Corleone is honest with Kay when she implies that her son is a murderer. With this interaction, the author emphasizes how women in the patriarchal system form a type of bond. Mama Corleone realizes men can be harsh as they go about their ruthless business. As a result, women are left to deal with this harshness and make the best of it because they have no power. So Mama Corleone sympathizes with Kay as a fellow woman in a powerless situation. She knows Kay can do nothing about finding Michael and doesn't want her to waste her time waiting. Mama Corleone, therefore, directly implies that her son is a murderer, hoping to scare off Kay. Also, Mama Corleone does control domestic matters and uses this control when she scolds Hagen about not offering coffee to Kay.

Puzo contributes to the theme of loyalty versus treachery through Kay and her family. Kay shows strong loyalty to Michael when she refuses to believe that he is a murderer. She intends to stand by her man, no matter what. Kay's parents have committed a shocking treachery in regards to their daughter. They have opened Kay's mail, which is a federal offense. Kay is understandably "horrified and angry" when she learns this. Puzo seems to be saying that the dynamics of loyalty and treachery take place in most families, not just the Corleones.

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