Rickie Masters is a charismatic character, a splendid actor and liar when it comes to dealing with the women in his life, but he is also, as another character says, a “tragic figure—or pretty nearly.” He is a man with whom women seem to fall in love at first sight. There is something about this handsome, sweet, prosperous, and sad man. He is not “exactly reckless but-but any moment about to do himself no good; clearly though indefinably less able than most chaps to-to take calculations and precautions, less concerned than most to provide adequate safeguards against pain to himself.” Rickie seems not only a victim of his own character but also a victim of fate; as Dinah says: “He was a romantic orphan boy, irrevocably out of the top drawer. He was never at home in his situation . . . the contemporary one, the crack-up—not just the general human situation of wondering why you’re born.”
Rickie knows better than anyone that he is not what people expect him to be. He believes that he “must have been born with some congenital defect of vision: anyway even in the nursery I couldn’t see life steady: there always seemed something coming up to fog the issues.” He is unable to lead the life to which he committed himself when he married Madeleine because he loves Dinah, and he is unable to respond to the passion of his life because he cannot bring himself to break with his code of decency. He has “thrown up the sponge, bled out his life or...
(The entire section is 591 words.)