Tender is the Night
How we cite our quotes:
"You were scared, weren’t you?" she accused him. "You wanted to live!"
She spoke with such force that in his shocked state Dick wondered if he had been frightened for himself – but the strained faces of the children, looking from parent to parent, made him want to grind her grinning mask into jelly (2.15.65-66).
We also discuss this passage in Dick’s "Character Analysis." It’s one of the most important passages for understanding Nicole’s madness. She tries to kill herself and her family here. Who is she "being" when she grabs the steering wheel? Is she being Nicole or her father? Or has she become "nobody" - an inhuman force? Dick’s reaction is also interesting. He wants to kill her back.
"Dick, I don’t pretend to advise you or to know much about it but don’t you think a change might be good for her – to get out of that atmosphere of sickness and live in the world like other people?"
"But you were keen for the clinic," he reminded her. "You told me you’d never feel really safe about her" (2.21.10.).
We wonder if Baby can tell that Dick just had sex with Rosemary? But isn’t what she’s saying what we’ve been thinking? How the heck is Nicole supposed to get well when she pretty much lives at the clinic where she "recovered" from being raped? This is also where she met Dick, and now she’s watching that relationship go down the tubes. Interestingly, Nicole was in favor of the move to the clinic. We’re just speculating here. We have no way of knowing. But Baby Warren brings it up so it’s fair game.
"I want to make a speech," Dick cried. "I want to explain to these people how I raped a five-year-old girl. Maybe I did" (2.23.101).
Did this freak you out, anyway? As we see in Dick’s "Character Analysis" it’s an explainable sentence. We know Dick isn’t the rapist, but he does feel like one. It’s an important passage for our discussion on madness. If Dick is ever really insane in the book, it might just be at this moment. He feels like the lowest of the low, and he has the broken body parts to prove it.