Literature Study GuidesThe GodfatherBook 9 Chapter 32 Summary

The Godfather | Study Guide

Mario Puzo

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The Godfather | Book 9, Chapter 32 | Summary

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Summary

Book 9, Chapter 32 of The Godfather covers the 12 months in which Michael Corleone becomes the most powerful Mafia leader in the United States. Michael divides his time between the mall in Long Beach and his new home in Las Vegas. He allows Peter Clemenza to start his own family, and Rocco Lampone becomes the caporegime for that family. Michael appoints Albert Neri as the head of security for the Corleone-controlled hotels in Las Vegas. Connie Corleone reconciles with Michael and assures Kay that her husband did not murder Carlo Rizzi. Soon, Connie remarries. Kay converts to Catholicism and raises her children in this religion. At the end of the year, Michael goes to the New York area to close out the family business on the East coast. Kay and the children travel with him.

During the last morning in New York, Kay prepares to go to mass with Mama Corleone. Going to mass with her mother-in-law has become a daily ritual for Kay. She and Mama Corleone enter a church. Kay kneels in a pew and waits for communion. She remembers leaving Michael after she learned about his involvement with the killing of Carlo. She took her children to her parents' house in New Hampshire. After a week, Hagen visited her. They had a long talk, during which Hagen told Kay that Michael had to kill Tessio and Carlo because they would be too dangerous to his family to be left alive. Kay agreed to go back to Michael.

In the church, Kay takes communion and prays for the soul of Michael Corleone.

Analysis

In Book 9, Chapter 32, Puzo focuses on the theme of the patriarchal family through Kay's assimilation into the Corleone family. Similar to how Michael has become a replica of the Don, Kay seems to have become a replica of Mama Corleone. Like Mama Corleone, Kay is Catholic, goes to mass every day, and focuses on domestic matters, such as raising her children. The suggestion is that the roles in the strict patriarchal family are so fixed and confining that people who fill these roles tend to resemble each other. Individuality is discouraged; conformity is encouraged. Like Mama Corleone, Kay realizes she has limited power in the patriarchal family. So she goes to mass every day and tries to indirectly affect her husband by praying for his soul.

Kay's lack of power and confinement in the Corleone family reveals the sexism in the patriarchal system. However, the author once again presents this patriarchal sexism in a manner that is contradictory. Puzo portrays Kay in a sexist way by having her so easily give up any independence and conform to the Corleone family. Considering her background, Kay's involvement at all in this family stretches the limits of belief. Having her easily become a good Catholic housewife does the same. Kay argues with Hagen for a while about Michael being a murderer. But after Hagen explains Michael's reasons for his murderous activities, like Connie and Lucy Mancini, she lacks an individual core that can resist the dictates of men.

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