Casino Royale | Study Guide

Ian Fleming

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Casino Royale | Chapter 24 : "Fruit Défendu" | Summary

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Summary

James Bond returns to his room to find Vesper Lynd has unpacked his suitcase for him. In the bathroom her own toiletries, including a bottle of sleeping pills, are also unpacked. A bath has been drawn, which he proclaims "absolutely right" before jokingly asking Vesper to marry him. She replies, "You need a slave, not a wife." They dress casually for dinner, which is just as sumptuous as the food they had at the hotel in Royale-les-Eaux. Vesper tells him she's "never been so spoiled before," then says she wishes she deserved it. Bond is surprised, even more so when she tells him he doesn't really know anything about her. "People are islands," she says. "However close they are, they're really quite separate." Bond worries she's had too much to drink, but then she laughs and says her island feels very close to his tonight. They depart the dinner table separately only to end up in Vesper's room.

Bond wakes in his own room the next morning and sneaks to the beach as the sun rises. Wishing Vesper were there to watch him burst through the bay's glassy surface, he dries himself on the beach "and [revels] in the body which the night [has] given back to him." By the time he goes back to the inn, he has decided to ask Vesper to marry him.

Analysis

"Fruit Défendu," the title of Chapter 24, means "forbidden fruit" in French and alludes to Vesper's sexuality. Bond has wanted to have sex with Vesper since their first meeting, and he's waited three weeks to do so. That's a long time in the life of James Bond—when he wants something, he usually gets it. Vesper can also be considered forbidden fruit because she and Bond are technically coworkers. Personal relationships between coworkers, particularly those who work closely together, is frowned upon in the SIS, most likely because of the distracting nature of romance and a potential shift in loyalty. If Bond and Vesper were romantically involved, Bond's superiors would be concerned he would place her safety above the security of the nation. Bond knows all of this, which makes having sex with Vesper all the more thrilling. He likes sneaking around and engaging in illicit activities—after all, he is a spy, and very sex-driven.

Vesper is correct in her assessment Bond needs a slave, not a wife. He is not interested in a mutual partnership—he wants someone to fawn over him. This is evident during his early-morning swim, when he wishes Vesper would happen by and "be astonished to see him suddenly erupt from the empty seascape." Bond craves Vesper's admiration in much the same way a small child revels in its parents' attention. It isn't so much he's in love with Vesper as he likes her being in love with him.

In addition to being unequal, Bond and Vesper's relationship is devoid of any real intimacy. They don't know each other well, and when Vesper brings this up Bond just laughs it off. He has no interest in learning anything about Vesper besides what's underneath her clothes and what she thinks about him. Their lack of intimacy is also evident in Bond's decision to sleep in his own bed after they have sex. While it's entirely possible they don't want the proprietors of the inn to realize they are sleeping together, it's unlikely Monsieur Versoix and his wife will burst into Vesper's room in the middle of the night. A more plausible explanation for Bond's departure to his own bed is he feels he has no reason to be with Vesper after his sexual needs have been satisfied.

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