Tender is the Night
How we cite our quotes:
Down in the garden lanterns still glowed over the table where they had dined, as the Divers stood side by side in the gate, Nicole blooming away and filling the night with graciousness, and Dick bidding good-by to everyone by name (1.8.26).
As we find out later, Nicole just had a pretty serious breakdown. No one would ever guess it from this description. Is the description inaccurate? Or does Nicole’s exterior mask her interior. What are some other interpretations of this passage?
"Yes – well they were having words and she tossed some sand in his face. So naturally he sat on top of her and rubbed her face in the sand. We were – electrified. I wanted Dick to interfere." (1.4.39).
Nicole is talking about the McKisco’s. They don’t seem to care about appearances. Does this have anything to do with McKisco’s later success in the novel, or does it just show that he and his wife are not fit for "polite" circles? Until that day at the fair, all of Nicole’s dramatic episodes happen in private. Why might she find the scene between the McKiscos threatening?
...For Doctor Diver to marry a mental patient? How did it happen? Where did it begin? (2.9.60).
It’s hard to know exactly whose perspective this is from. Perhaps this passage is like a Greek chorus, meant to echo the collective sentiments of a town or community. Maybe it’s Dick, or even Nicole. We can safely say that it’s a judgmental voice, commenting on how their marriage doesn’t look quite right.