The Talented Mr. Ripley


Patricia Highsmith

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The Talented Mr. Ripley: Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis

After dark, in a “precisely calculated state of intoxication,” Tom drags Freddie down to his car. A man asks in Italian if everything is all right, but Tom’s plan has worked—it appears as if he and Freddie are simply stumbling after a drunken night. Tom puts Freddie into the car and drives him down the Via Appia, eventually arriving at a cemetery. He leaves Freddie behind a tombstone, and drives back toward Rome. He wipes his fingerprints from the car and, once in Rome, parks Freddie’s car across from a nightclub, then steals Freddie’s money and drops his wallet down a sewer grate. Tom walks quickly home “as if he were fleeing a sick, passionate pursuer.”
It is at this point in the novel that Tom’s machinations and cover-ups begin their descent into an almost farcical complexity. With so much to disguise, Tom must constantly be watchful and inventive, and his fleeing a “sick, passionate pursuer” at this chapter’s end represents his own realization that his game is growing more and more complicated. Tom does not feel remorse, exactly, but a sense of unease is surely beginning to overtake him.
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