Norman Mailer’s Stabbing of his Second Wife, Adele Morales

Mr. Mailer was an eminent individual of America, he was known as a writer, film producer and director. He completed his Bachelors of Science in aeronautics from Harvard University in 1939. He became a very famous personality after writing many prominent novels. He married six times throughout his life. He had nine children, out of which eight were biological, and one was adopted.

Norman Mailer was considered   a very gifted and assiduous person. In the year 1960, at a party held at his home, Mailer got drunk and stabbed his second wife, Adele Morale, practically killing her. Adele Morale was hurt in the abdomen and back of the body. Most people believed that Mailer was observed as the victim. Mailer had been motivated to do this by compulsion and mental illness, as there was no other reason which could be concluded for this sinful act.

While few people criticize him and believe that Mailer did not have any admiration for women, he affirmed on a converse demonstrate, “Women ought to be kept in confine.”  In a Harper’s Magazine dissertation titled “The Prisoner of Sex”, he wrote, “The major accountability of a woman is to be on ground long enough to find the best mate for herself and envisage children who will perk up the species.” So in this research study we have covered all the facts which may be involved in Norman’s stabbing of his second wife, and have described the circumstances which provoked him to perform this violence.

Life History ; Achievements of Norman Mailer

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Norman Mailer was an outstanding personality of the United States of America. He was an author, film producer and director. Normal Mailer was born in New Jersey in 1923. In 1939, Mailer completed his Bachelors of Science in aeronautics from the Harvard University. After completion of his edification, he initiated inscription of novels. In the year 1944, he was driven to the army, where he worked communally as a clerk and rifleman. In the year 1948, he started writing for the novel, “The Naked and The Death”. In this novel, he elucidated everything which he had perceived in World War II. This novel achieved more accomplishment than it was expected to.

It was in 1960 when he wrote many dissertations and became a lead writer. In 1969, Mailer ran for mayor, this time on the “Secessionist” ticket, which included proposals that New York City become the fifty-first state and that disputes among young criminals be settled by jousting tournaments in Central Park.

Mailer’s theatrical journalistic approach is presumed to be of highest esteem in the outstanding Armies of the Night. Mailer triumphed six percent of the ballot in a five man competition to turn out to be the Mayor of New York. He recognized the 1968 Republican and Democratic conference in Miami and the Siege of Chicago, and became the first man to corridor the Moon. During his life time, Mailer married six dissimilar women and had nine children from them, eight of which were his biological children and one was adopted. After spending a troublesome life, Mr. Mailer died at the age of 84 in New York, at Mount Sinai Hospital, due to renal failure. [Norm, Rich].

Marriages of Norman Mailer

Norman Mailer married six times, his first marriage took place in the year 1943, and last in 1980. His first wife was Beatrice Silverman, they got married in 1943, and he divorced her in the year 1952. Adele Morales was his second wife, they got married on April 19, 1954 at City Hall, but after a few years, he attempted to kill her with a pen knife, and they were divorced after this ghastly incident. Lady Jeanne Campbell was the third wife of Mailer. They married in the year 1962 and were divorced in 1963. He then decided to marry Beverly Bentley in the year 1963. His fifth wife was Carol Steven whom he married in the year 1980; they were separated after one day of their marriage. He committed himself to Norris Church in the year 1980. [Norm, Sherry, Strifto].

The stabbing incident

At a revelry in which Mr. Mailer was to announce his Mayoral candidature on the Secessionist ticket, he was heavily drunk and he stabbed his second wife Adele Morale, practically killing her. She was hit in the abdomen and back of the body, and was taken to the hospital at 8 am sharp. She was admitted to the hospital with an abrasion in close proximity to her heart.

Shortly after, detectives went to question her about the incident, but they were told that she was in a very critical situation, and she could not answer their questions. The following day, the police was allowed to visit her as she was feeling better than before. She then informed them that her husband stabbed her on Sunday morning at 5 a.m. without any reason. He unexpectedly walked towards her, looked at her and stabbed her with a penknife. Adele refused to press accusation, so Mailer escaped this indignation within a fortnight at a psychiatric unit of Bellevue.

This incident became one of the most terrible events of Mailer’s life. It has been a focal point for feminist critics of Mailer, who point to the subject of sexual aggression in his work.  This confrontation made him separate with his beloved wife. Furthermore, they divorced in the year 1962. This incident also blemished his career and the image he had made among fans. He was no more considered as a celebrity after stabbing his wife.

Mailer also felt guilty for his act while appearing in a T.V. documentary.  He himself said, “The stabbing changed everything in my life. It is the one act I can look back on and regret for the rest of my life.”

On the other hand, Adele Morales tells news reporters that Norman Mailer was never guilty for his act because if he was, it would show, additionally; he can never accept that he has any weakness in his character.

Carl Rollyson unwrapped the biography of Mailer with narrations of John Maloney, an acquaintance of Mailer. It was in 1954, when Maloney stabbed his mistress and escaped. After a few years he was sent to jail but was released when the convict was taken back from his wife. At that moment, Mailer alleged to him, “God, I wish I had the courage to stab a woman like that. That was a real gutsy act.” That tells one all one needs to know about Norman Mailer’s idea of “courage.” In some instances, it conveys very modest disapproval surrounded by upscale intellectuals [Norm & Kimball, 2007; Bart, 2007].

Circumstances and Causes of this Incident

When the populace attempted to conclude on the subject of Mailer’s stabbing of his second wife, they were frequently bewildered. This was due to the fact that Mailer had a tremendous individuality and overwhelming intelligence, and had written many esteemed articles. While on other hand, he stabbed his wife so it is not very easy to conclude Mailer’s personality and circumstances which drove him to this act. However, we can have a spectacle on what a researcher considered about Norman Mailer, to make a conclusion about the cause of his violent act.

Irving Howe believes that Mailer was observed as the victim. He also believes that Mailer had been motivated by compulsivity and mental illness as there was no other reason which can be concluded for this sin.

Anyone who reads Mailer’s story would consider him as a victim and they would question themselves additionally, as to what the circumstances were, which forced him to do so. If Mailer’s attempt to assassinate his companion convened with little displeasure, the ‘American Dream’ would not run away so effortlessly. It had its admirer, and on the other hand critic Stanley Edgar Hyman, in an overwhelming review called Norman Mailer’s Luscious Rump, beam a lot, when it was called an appalling novel. Substantially added flamboyance than antagonism, it is a book whose dreadfulness is in actual fact begging description.

It can be said that Mailer performed this violent act because he would be mentally depressed at times, as he had a troubling life. However, some people believe that Mailer was thought of as a celebrity who was a drinker and brawler, womanizer, biased campaigner, communal critic, talk-show guest, self-promoter, and symbol of male sexism. The stabbing incident became the evidence of Mailer’s reputation as a boisterous person too [Norm & Kimball].

The above discussion clearly concludes that the causes of this incident may be  some mental illness, or it was his cruel nature towards women which made him  perform this horrible act.


Bart Barnes, November 11, 2007, A blustery force in life and letter retrieved from, quotes about Norman Mailer previous marriages retrieved from

Richard Avedo, Norman Mailer autobiography retrieved from

Mailer a dissenting view, Roger Kimball







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