Attachments Themes

Themes

Loneliness is again a major theme in Attachments, as it was in Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1975; see separate entry). Nadine's life is governed by trying to avoid loneliness, which is represented for her by the image of falling. In the early pages she admits that "during the first twenty- five or thirty years of my life I was too agitated to learn much. Too busy trying to keep myself from falling." The death of her parents in a freak swimming accident is a blow from which she never fully recovers. Periodically she wishes to be a little girl again, watching her parents swimming together, although that memory evokes also the loneliness of returning to a bed no longer cozy but now "a cold and lonely place."

The belief throughout Attachments is that each person has room for only one attachment at a time. The Siamese twins, Amos and Eddie, have each other and, although they like the companionship of Dianne and Nadine, such relationships are not essential to their emotional well-being. Once separated, however, Amos turns to Nadine for the support he previously got from his brother. When Dianne is pregnant with Carlotta, Nadine is intensely jealous and feels the "baby was making love to her." She feels terribly alone—Dianne has the baby and the twins have each other. Then closeness with Dianne's baby Carlotta fills her emptiness and she no longer needs the others. When Nadine herself has a baby, Dianne's Carly is pushed out, and so it goes throughout the book. The loneliness after rejection is a terrible thing, whether experienced by Nadine, by Carly, or by Amos.

Nadine was first attracted to the Siamese twins because they had achieved her dream of "being permanently attached to someone else so I could never fall." They were not freaks to her, having been "born to a condition I was spending my life trying to achieve." She imagines herself in the space between them, absorbing their togetherness, just as she had desired as a child to be in the pool with her parents, swimming between them. The twins did not have to talk to communicate. Only after separation would they get some...

(The entire section is 863 words.)