Quote 3

Scottie:   “What are you thinking about?”
Madeleine:   “Of all the people who were born and died while the trees went on living.”
Scottie:   “Their true name is Sequoia sempervirens—always green, ever living.”
Madeleine:   “I don’t like it . . . knowing I have to die.”

This dialogue between Scottie and Madeleine takes place in the giant sequoia forest at Big Basin. The thematic tension between fearing death and desiring its release comes to a head here, as Madeleine apparently grapples with an irresistible drive toward suicide and a simultaneous fear of her own demise. In retrospect, it is Judy’s true voice speaking here. It is in this forest that Scottie and “Madeleine” profess their love for each other. The Judy within Madeleine realizes that once she fakes her suicide, she will no longer exist for Scottie and their love affair must end. The trees’ scientific name and meaning foreshadows Scottie’s later preoccupation with the dead Madeleine and with keeping her “ever living.”