Sex and Jealousy
"Do you mind if I pull the curtain down?" (100)
It is a phrase that haunts Dick after Collis Clay's tale of Rosemary in the train compartment with another man. He is envious of the third persons what he presumes sexual engagement with Rosemary. The jealousy that it arouses in him leads him to doubt Rosemary's virginal status his confused passion is reflected in the scenes he imagines of the "the white excitement" of the event; thus mixing purity and passionate, innocent and lustful. "Do you mind if I pull the curtain down?" his obsessionially recurrent question indicates a form of repression. There is a double intention here as it seeks to cover up and make innocent but also violate and make sensual "the inviolable secret warmth within". His feelings for Rosemary disarm him and his normal inner and outer balance. We have seen before how her vulnerable and forlorn appeals to Dick knock him from his usual grace "the tensile strength of his balance, was absent" and in order to reassert his control he appropriates the role of father and doctor
"Good night child. This is a damn shame ... he gave her two lines of hospital patter to go to sleep on" (77)
He takes on the alternative masks of his personality in order to control the situation and it is this doctor- patient, father-daughter relationship footing between them that makes the transition to lovers a much darker struggle. It is presented as a transgression not only of social mores and bounds of acceptability but also of self. With the violation of his role comes the degradation of the stable and coherent self - appearance and inner reality dissent, beast lurks beneath the civilised exterior, ego and id compete for superiority:
"Dignified in his fine clothes, with their fine accessories, he was yet swayed and driven as an animal" (103)
His correct and mannered behaviour is described as a result of some "submerged reality" there is then an abyss beneath this seemingly solid surface,
"Dick was paying some tribute to things unforgotten, unshriven, unexpurgated" (104).
Here then perhaps what is being suggested is Dick's unconscious desires, we are faced with what Richard Godden would see as the central force of the book - incest. With the star of "Daddy's Girl" Dick enacts the role of archaic father again. "Tender is the Night is beset by ill-disguised fathers and under-aged girls" (Introduction to the Penguin edition, 1998). Deveraux Warren's sexual pathology is reflected, refracted and repeated throughout the book. Dick replaces Nicole's 'bad' father by means of "sureties" and manners of a 'good' father like his own, Reverend Diver). However as he perceives he may actually have repeated the paternal incest because, by transference he may be, in Nicole's eyes the molesting father. There is doubt within the psychiatrist's "sureties" and hardness of manner that is delineated by Fitzgerald's constant epithets to Dick's strong, impenetrable, stable appearance.
Nicole's outburst at the end of book one signifies the variance of Dick's roles as she makes Dick inextricable to her blocked trauma - as her disciplined surface cracks, Rosemary hears the "verbal inhumanity" that surfaces:
"...it's you come to intrude on the only privacy I have in the world - with your
She is in the bathroom away from the eyes of society; away from the expectations of those around her and her she releases her unconscious horrors and accusations. Her sanity based on blocked history and trauma of her father's incestuous crime is a precarious one. Dick, the key to her restoration and transference, is both helper and villain. Nicole recognises him as an intruder and sinister as her mention of the blood stained spread alerts us to violation, concealment and claustrophobic constraint. With his authoritative commands of self-control we can see a man in the role of repressor in a room designed for cleansing and purgation. He retains the keys to her locked subconscious. What lies beneath and behind façades, masks, closed doors and blinds becomes the readers' focus
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