"You're the only girl I've seen for a long time that actually did look like something blooming" (Tender is the Night)

The book opens on the setting of the French Riviera in 1925, a place of "notable and fashionable people" (11), highlighting the globalisation in progress during these years as Americans spread their wings and their wealth. We are presented with a scene of the luxury of the post-World War years of holidaying, sun bathing, idleness and swimming. Taste, manners and fashion are the rule of the day rather than modesty or religion as we can see from the strange compound on the opening page, distorting normal worship for that of sun worship, "The hotel and its bright tan prayer rug of a beach were one" (11). We are introduced to Rosemary Hoyt, the beautiful star of "Daddy's Girl". It is interesting to note how Rosemary is described considering the incest at the sublimated centre of Dick and Nicole's relationship and at the crux of the novel. Her beauty is painted in purely childlike terms, the red flame of her cheeks does not signify passion but rather it is like the "thrilling flush of children", her body is on "the last edge of childhood", her boredom and interest like that of "prize- winning schoolchildren" (12). Dick Diver responds to her 'blooming' beauty and the youth and newness she signifies. Rosemary's youth then is celebrated, she is eager, fresh and untried to all "the dew was still on her" (12) but we can perhaps detect a darker tone in this aesthetic ideal.

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