Tender is the Night
How we cite our quotes:
Minute by minute the sweetness drained down into her out of the willow trees, out of the dark world (2.5.36).
What lovely prose. Nicole is being transformed by the "sweetness" of nature, out of "the dark world." Read "What’s Up With The Title" for a discussion on what darkness might mean in the novel. As you’ll see, darkness is thought to hold a special light which can illuminate the human heart. It is closely tied to the workings of nature. Or is there a more sinister interpretation of "dark world" in this passage?
"Why, I’m almost complete," she thought. "I’m practically standing alone, without him." And like a happy child, wanting the completion as soon as possible, and knowing vaguely that Dick had planned for her to have it, she lay on her bed as soon as she got home and wrote Tommy Barban in Nice a short provocative letter (3.7.92).
Nicole is definitely transforming here. But it’s a bit odd. She’s becoming complete by both separating herself from Dick and joining with Tommy. Is she just trading one man for another? Or is it the decision to take a chance, to choose something daring and bold that is making her feel whole?
Moreover it is confusing to come across a youthful photograph of some one known in a rounded maturity and gaze with a shock upon a fiery, wiry, eagle-eyed stranger. Best to be reassuring – Dick Diver’s moment now began.
We’ve looked at this passage a lot. It’s crucial to so many of the novel’s themes. It is pretty obvious why it’s here. The older Dick we meet at the beginning of the novel is transformed into the younger. And of course the younger Dick is transformed into the older. It’s like the good Dick and the evil Dick looking at each other in the mirror.