Literature Study GuidesTender Is The NightBook 1 Chapters 22 25 Summary

Tender Is the Night | Study Guide

F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Tender Is the Night | Book 1, Chapters 22–25 | Summary



Book 1, Chapter 22

The next morning Nicole Diver is awakened by a knock at the hotel door. Dick Diver is not there. When Nicole opens the door, she sees a Parisian police officer. He has come in search of Abe North, stating North was in Paris last night, is registered at the hotel, and was robbed at some point in the night. North made a complaint, and the police have "arrested the correct Negro" for the crime.

Next Nicole gets a phone call from the hotel office, saying a Mr. Crawshow wants to see the Divers about the Abe North incident. Crawshow claims the man under arrest, Mr. Freeman, is innocent, and he desperately needs to see North about it. Nicole hangs up.

Nicole and Rosemary go shopping for a while. When they return to the hotel, Dick is there and has talked to North on the phone. North tells Dick he has "launched a race riot" and wants to help Freeman get out of jail. He also says, "A Negro from Copenhagen that makes shoe polish" might be trying to find him. Nicole wonders why Abe has gone from being "so nice" to becoming such a horrible drunk; Dick thinks about how he has "become intensely critical of her."

Later, as Rosemary, Dick, and Nicole dine together at the hotel, they observe a group of "gold-star muzzers." These are mothers of American soldiers who died fighting abroad, and Rosemary and Nicole are very touched by it. Suddenly, Dick loves both of them again and feels the golden aura he is accustomed to, once again, surround their table.

Book 1, Chapter 23

This chapter opens in the Ritz bar in Paris, where Abe North has been drinking since morning. He is in a drunken fog. At 4:00 in the afternoon, a military officer approaches him and says "a colored fellow of the name Jules Peterson" wants to see him. Since the bartender will not allow the man in the segregated bar, Abe goes out to see him.

Book 1, Chapter 24

Abe North brings Jules Peterson straight to find Dick Diver. Getting no answer at Dick's room, he knocks on Rosemary's door. Dick and Rosemary are in the room making out, but quickly gather themselves when they find Abe and Peterson at the door. Dick takes everyone to his rooms, and Abe and Peterson tell the details of the previous night. Abe, drunk after drinking heavily all night, claimed a Negro took a thousand franc note out of his hand. The police went to the bistro where it happened, and they arrested a man who actually had not been there at the time. Then the police arrested Freeman, the owner of the bistro, and took him to jail. In reality, however, Abe was not robbed. A man had taken money out of his hand—fifty francs—in order to pay Abe's bar bill.

Now Peterson is asking Abe to help him get his shoe polish business going—something Abe had promised to do while drunk. Dick is unimpressed and focused only on getting Abe to sleep off his current binge. Peterson goes into the hall, thinking Dick will have a private conversation with Abe regarding how to provide the assistance offered to him. Abe finally does leave, but decides he will go back to the Ritz bar. Peterson is no longer in the hallway.

Book 1, Chapter 25

Rosemary decides she must go back to her room, without Dick, and when she gets there she has the feeling someone is in the room with her. She is shocked to find "a dead Negro ... stretched upon her bed." She runs across the hall to Dick's room. Nicole is now there, but Rosemary simply yells for Dick to come right away.

When he sees the body, Dick thinks carefully. When Nicole knocks on the door he tells her to bring the coverlet and top blanket from one of the beds in their room. Then he strips the coverlet and blanket from Rosemary's bed, opens the door, and switches bundles with Nicole. He then drags the body into the hallway, calls the hotel manager, and explains he has found "a dead Negro ... in the hall." The manager responds with discretion and says no one's name will ever be attached to the discovery.

When Rosemary and Dick go back into his room, Nicole is in the bathroom. Rosemary hears "a verbal inhumanity ... in the shape of horror." Following Dick into the room, she sees a sight that makes her realize it is the same sort of thing Violet McKisco had witnessed in the bathroom at the Villa Diana. Nicole is crazed and Dick is saying, "Control yourself!" Dazed, Rosemary answers the ringing phone and is relieved to learn it is Collis Clay, who has tracked her to the Divers' room. She asks him to come up and get her.


At last one of the biggest mysteries of the novel so far is solved. Although Nicole has never been shown as insane, she clearly is, and this is the "complication" Dick must deal with. Their closest friends, including Abe North and Tommy Barban, have surely seen it before, and now Rosemary has witnessed it as well.

Dealing with the murder, Dick regains his former poise and handles the situation masterfully. Not surprisingly, Rosemary "adored him for saving her," listening "in wild worship to his strong, sure, polite voice making it all right." It's the same way she has always thought of her mother's voice, and along with it, her romantic love for Dick shifts to a love of him as her protector. This is incredible situational irony, since the very role he has had in Nicole's life is exactly what he is hoping to escape with Rosemary. Then, once Rosemary witnesses Nicole's breakdown, all she wants to do is flee. Quite possibly, she will never come back to Dick.

The destruction caused by alcohol is more clear than ever in these chapters. Abe has completely lost control at this point, and a man has died as a result. But just as the Divers and Rosemary are sure to escape the scrutiny of the law, Abe North will no doubt elude any responsibility as well.

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