Tender is the Night
How we cite our quotes:
"I haven’t seen Paris since I’ve been grown," said Rosemary. "I’d love to see it with you."
"That’s nice of you." Did she imagine that his voice was suddenly metallic? "Of course we’ve been excited about you from the moment you came on the beach. That vitality, we were sure it was professional – especially Nicole was. It’d never use itself up on any one person or group" (1.8.15-16).
Dick is suggesting here that Rosemary’s innocence, or naiveté, can hurt others. As the novel makes clear, she’s walking into the Divers world without thinking of anyone’s feelings but her own. Maybe if she knew what was going on, she might tread a little more lightly. Dick is cautioning her not to get fixated on himself or the people around her. Good advice, but, we must wonder, is Dick innocent to the irony here? Isn’t he doing exactly what he’s telling Rosemary what to do when he "works over" the people he meets? With what we know about Dick, it’s highly doubtful he’s blind to the parallel. He seems to know exactly what he is at that time in his life, even as he knows it’s not very nice.
"All my beautiful lovely safe world blew itself up here with a great gust of high explosive love," Dick mourned persistently. "Isn’t that true, Rosemary?"
"I don’t know," she answered with a grave face. "You know everything" (1.13.12-13).
This is when they are touring World War I battlefields and Dick is talking about physical damage to the land and people and the psychological impact of the war on those who lived to remember it. All in all, World War I represents a shattering of innocence in the novel. Why does he use the word love? Wars are often fought in the name of love – the love for a country, the love of humankind. It’s ironic that something done in the name of love can wreak such destruction and death. And what about Rosemary’s reaction? It’s almost as if she’s become more innocent as a result of being with Dick. But is it innocence to lose yourself in another person? This is an important question in the novel.
"People used to say what a wonderful father and daughter we were […]. We were just like lovers – and then all at once we were lovers – and ten minutes after it happened I could have shot myself – except I guess I’m such a Goddamned degenerate I didn’t have the nerve to do it" (2.3.34).
This passage is important for obvious reasons, including the fact that it describes the shattering of the innocence of both a father and a daughter in one horrible moment.