Tender is the Night
How we cite our quotes:
"I never expected you to love me – it was too late – only don’t come in the bathroom, the only place I can go for privacy, dragging spreads with red blood on them and asking me to fix them."
When we read this, we don’t know about Dick and Nicole’s history at all. We’ve had an inkling or two that Nicole might have some issues, but we have no idea what they are. When we do find out about her past? At this moment, she really does believe she’s spoiled goods, and that Dick’s must be motivated by something other than love – money, pity, duty, etc. She doesn’t get specific. Nicole is also clearly threatened by Rosemary’s appearance on their scene. Having to help Dick tamper with a crime scene to save Rosemary’s reputation, really hits her hard.
"You told me that night you’d teach me to play. Well, I think love is all there is or should be" (2.2.53-55).
This is a line from one of Nicole’s letters to Dick. The "that night" she’s talking about must mean the first and only time she met Dick before initiating correspondence with him. It’s not clear what he said he’d teach her to play. What is love to Nicole though? She says she loves her father, but he raped her. She has a very serious view of love, whatever she thinks it is. Does she maintain this serious view throughout the novel or does her position change?
He supposed many men meant no more than that when they said they were in love – not a wild submergence of soul, a dipping of all colors into an obscuring dye, such as his love for Nicole had been. Certain thoughts about Nicole, that she should die, sink into mental darkness, love another man, made him physically sick.
Ah, such pretty lines. More proof of just how deeply Dick loves Nicole. When he leaves without a fight, and doesn’t try to stop her relationship with Tommy, has his love for her lessened? Does he, by not trying to stop her from finding love with Tommy, demonstrate a deeper love?