In her suburban lifestyle as a young woman from a privileged upbringing, Kay has a naïve attitude about how the world works—she doesn’t think politicians “have people killed” because she has never encountered it. She simply, at first, wants to be a supportive girlfriend and later wife, and is shocked to discover all the mechanisms of the criminal underworld. The more she watches her husband handle “the family business,” the more Kay loses her hope he will legitimize the family and abandon his mafia activities. She becomes increasingly dissatisfied with the immoral nature of his behavior and suspicious about his involvement in various crimes. She judges his activities as criminal and can no longer support them, leading her to abort their unborn son out of a fear he will grow up to be “just like his father.” She does not want to bring another life into Michael’s world of corruption and murder, and in anger, she tells Michael as much. His rejection of her and abrupt throwing her out of his life makes no sense to her, and she scrambles to attempt to understand it, since it’s not easy for her to sever their ties and just walk away from her children.

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Kay wants to ‘be there’ for Michael in his times of turmoil and pain and cannot understand why he will not allow it, or why when he ran off abruptly to Europe, he didn’t leave her a forwarding address. Before her marriage, as a teacher, she spends all her time nurturing children. After she becomes a Corleone, she focuses on giving their children love, attention, and emotional support, even arguing to Michael many years later that he should not block Mary from being with the man she loves. Kay makes decisions with her heart and not her head, both in her choice to marry Michael and in her increasing distaste for his brutal activities (the murder of Connie’s husband, the death of his brother, etc). Her 1 wing becomes more and more pronounced, as she develops an increasing distaste and disapproval for the entire culture (she sees it as old-fashioned, blood-soaked, and immoral) and later, for her husband’s involvement in it. She often preaches at him after they are separated, and in a blind rage, she screams out the truth of her abortion at him, in a spectacular ‘disintegration to 8’ that is blindsided by him backhanding her so hard, she lands on the couch.