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Course Hero. "Tender Is the Night Study Guide." August 23, 2017. Accessed December 18, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Tender-Is-the-Night/.
Course Hero, "Tender Is the Night Study Guide," August 23, 2017, accessed December 18, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Tender-Is-the-Night/.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Tender Is the Night is mostly told through third-person omniscient narration. However, the perspective shifts among characters. Some of the story is told from the points of view of the main characters Dick, Nicole, and Rosemary, but sometimes the novel features the viewpoints of more minor characters. This style of narration reveals the motivations of different characters and allows readers to more closely track how individuals' thoughts and actions affect others.
In Book 2 the narration shifts abruptly to first person in several small sections, and here the story is told from the perspective of Nicole. This is how readers learn about her traumatic early life and come to understand her illness, as her thoughts and pieces of writing are presented in raw form.
Tender Is the Night is told in the past tense, except for the snippets of text in Book 2 which slip into first-person narration told by Nicole in the present tense.
"Tender is the night" is a phrase taken from "Ode to a Nightingale," a famous poem written by English Romantic poet John Keats (1795–1821). F. Scott Fitzgerald had a great love for Keats's poetry, and for this ode in particular. The relevant lines are: "Already with thee! tender is the night ... / But here there is no light, / Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown / Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways."
As Charles Scribner III explains in a 1982 introduction to the novel, "The title evokes the transient, bittersweet, and ultimately tragic nature" of the story. As Fitzgerald lost his battles to keep himself and his wife stable, he experienced heartbreak, yet he still believed in romance. Indeed, the subtitle of Tender Is the Night was originally "Romance."
This study guide and infographic for F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender Is the Night offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.