This website is an interactive academic
tool for CEA-UNH course:
Gay Paris:
Culture, Society, & Urban Sexual Identity

CEA GlobalCampus | Spring 2009
UNH Course Code: GEN230
Credits: 3 | Location: Paris, France

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Nightwood Chapter 3 | Night Watch

Chapter Summary

The chapter opens with a description of Nora and her salon in America. Nora and Robin both attend the Denckman circus in 1923 and meet each other there. They leave together and Robin follows Nora home and they stay in the United States for a time and then travel the cities of Europe together, eventually arriving in Paris and staying. Robin buys an apartment on the rue du Cherche-Midi. Their existence there is tortured by their unsustainable, violent love. Robin's nights are spent wandering the streets, cafés and bars of Paris. Nora's nights are tormented by her lover severed from her. One night, Nora stands at the window of their apartment and sees the silhouette of her lover with another woman, cowering - this sight a major breach in their relationship.

How would you describe Nora? What passages specifically would you choose to illustrate how you imagine her?

"those who love a city, in its profoundest sense, become the shame of that city, the détraques": (p. 47) deranged people

The Seventh-day Adventist Church (p. 47): observes its Sabbath on Saturday, the original seventh day of the Judeo-Christian week.

There was no ignominy in her: (p. 48) disgrace, dishonor.

On the rue du Cherche-Midi, did you find the, "fountain figure, a tall granite woman bending forward with lifted head, one hand held over the pelvic round as if to warn a child who goes incautiously."? (p. 50)


  1. "The world and history were to Nora like a ship in a bottle; shw herself was outside and unidentified, endlessly embroiled in a preocupation without a problem" (pg. 48). I think this passage describes an interesting aspect of Nora, which is her "aloofness" from the world. She seems to be untouched by everyday issues floating in her surroundings. Instead she creates her own colors, sounds, worries (world)...and Robin.

    Can somebody help me with this passage?, I am not sure what it means (especially the last part): "Wandering people the world over found her profitable in that she could be sold for a price forever, for she carried her betrayal oney in her own pocket"(pg 47)

  2. beautiful passage and indeed tricky.

    anyone else have ideas? (if not, i promise to add more giuliana)...

  3. "....for she carried her betrayal money in her own pocket." I think that may means that people took advantage of Nora's kindness, but did not repay her, either in kind acts or in money. Her betrayal money possibly refers to the payment she receives for her deeds, but not necessarily monetary payment. The use of the word betrayal could signify the fact that she was under appreciated, or under paid, for her services, and that she carries this with her in her pocket could signify that she never forgets her injustices. Also, since she carries it in her pocket, perhaps this means it is visible to others and so people continually take advantage of her.

    I think this is what it means not only based on the explicit words of the quote, but also based on the information at the beginning of the chapter about how Nora's salon is a salon for paupers. Also because the chapter after this quote outlines Robin's tendency to abandon Nora, and Nora's subservience to such abandonment.