" How would I ever come to know her, I wondered, for as she slept I felt I knew no more of her than what I coulde see in a photograph." (118)
"These were the goddesses, and if I were Paris I could not have been able to choose among them, so microscopic were the differences. Their fates had collapsed them into one. Only Brenda shone." (96)
This parallel shows the lives of the girls who live in the rich and prosperous neighborhoods. Throughout the book, Neil always talks about how people get things "fixed" in order to look more beautiful. This is seen when Brenda gets a nose job in order to hide her imperfections and differences. By the end of the book, Neil realizes that all the girls are identical to each other due to trying to look like the set image society sees as "beautiful." Neil questions his relationship with Brenda when he states, "I felt I knew no more of her than what I could see in a photograph" (118). Neil is comparing Brenda to the rest of the girls of Short hills who look and act identical. After several months of dating, it seems that Neil only is able to remember the outward appearance of his relationship with Brenda.
"Mr. Patimkin looked at his cigar. 'A man works hard he's got something. You don't get anywhere sitting on your behind, you know... the biggest men in the country worked hard, believe me. Even rockerfeller. Success don't come easy..." (93)
"I got more brains in my pink than Ben got in his whole head. Why is it he's on top and I'm on the bottom! Why! Believe me, if you're born lucky, you're lucky!" (117)
This shows the contrast between Mr. Patimken and his brother, Leo. When Mr. Patimken and Neil talk, he tells him about his past life and that if he works hard, Neil will be able to become successful. Later when Neil talks to Leo, Leo tells him the sad truth that the "American Dream" is all about luck and connections.
I think the Diaphragm was a very important prop in these chapters. Ever since Neil has dated Brenda, I think he feels empowered due to his class and having less money than Brenda. In order to feel more in control of the relationship, he asks Brenda to buy a Diaphragm. At first Brenda refuses because she does not want to embarrass herself or her social status. Neil takes this as an offense and feels Brenda always has to have it her way in their relationship. By the end of the book, Brenda decides to buy the diaphragm. In the end it turns out this Diaphragm, an object of control and power for Neil, is the cause for Brenda's and Neils relationship to end when her parents find it in Brenda's clothing drawer.