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In the beginning of the story, Rosemary is depicted as a naïve and innocent teenager who becomes infatuated with the worldly and sophisticated Dick Diver. She is a promising, young American actress, who is largely controlled by her domineering mother. The two of them are on the coast of France while Rosemary takes a break from her filming. In her innocence, she flirts with Dick, whom she finds attractive; when he responds, she believes she is in love. During a group trip to Paris, Rosemary encourages Dick and is amorous with him. An affair never develops, however, because of the tragic events surrounding the Negroes. Dick later follows Rosemary to Italy. It is obvious at this point that she has lost some of her innocence, for she is involved in a relationship with a fellow actor; she also willingly consummates the relationship with Dick. Although Dick admits that he is disappointed in their affair, finding her too young and immature, Rosemary also indicates that she has no real interest in Dick. When he later follows her to Provence, the relationship ends, and Rosemary fades from the book. Her main purpose in the novel is to fuel the tension of the tragedy.
Nicole's second husband is, in most ways, a counterpoint to Dick Diver. While Dick is often uncertain and changing, Tommy is always decisive, blunt, alert, active, and certain; he has no doubts about what he wants and no qualms about what he does to get it. Whereas Dick avoids the military when possible, Tommy serves as a mercenary soldier. While Dick, for most of the novel, is seen as social and sophisticated, Tommy is socially inept and unworldly. In some ways, however, there are comparisons between the two men. Tommy is literally half-American and half- European; Dick, who is American, rejects his past through most of the novel and plays at being European. Tommy is infatuated with Nicole for her beauty, sophistication, and money; these are exactly the same things that attracted Dick to her early in the novel. Tommy can also be manipulative, like Dick; he demands that Nicole tell him that she loves him and ask Dick for a divorce. When Nicole wants to go to Dick when he is leaving Tarmes, Tommy literally holds her back. He knows what he wants and is not about to lose it.