Literature Study GuidesTender Is The NightBook 1 Chapters 9 11 Summary

Tender Is the Night | Study Guide

F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Tender Is the Night | Book 1, Chapters 9–11 | Summary



Book 1, Chapter 9

Brady's chauffeur takes Brady, Rosemary and her mother, and Royal Dumphry to Gausse's Hôtel. The Divers' chauffeur drives the other guests home. The Brady car follows the Diver car for 10 minutes then comes upon it pulled over on the side of the road. The Brady car does not stop because the Divers' chauffeur is standing outside the car, grinning.

After sleeping for three hours, Rosemary wakes up and experiences insomnia for the first time. She finally gets up and goes out on the terrace. There she comes upon Campion, who is weeping. He won't say exactly what is wrong except it has to do with love. Since Dumphry is the only other gay man in the story, and they have appeared to be a couple, readers can infer the relationship has ended. When another guest opens her window and insists they stop talking, Campion and Rosemary move to a bench on the road to a beach, where Campion tells her the amazing story of what happened in the car he was in on the way home:

Violet McKisco had continued to try to tell what she saw in the bathroom, and Tommy Barban had continued to warn her to be quiet. When Albert McKisco became indignant at Barban's treatment of his wife, somehow the result was the two of them would fight a duel at five o'clock in the morning.

Again, the guest opens her window and says Campion and Rosemary must be quiet, and this is when Abe North arrives on the scene. The chapter ends as Campion leaves and Abe and Rosemary settle on a bench even farther from the hotel, so he can fill her in on more of the details.

Book 1, Chapter 10

Abe North continues to tell Rosemary about what happened in the car on the way home from the Divers' party. What led to the duel was Albert's mention of "code duello." Since Tommy Barban is both half French and a professional soldier, he immediately turned the comment into a challenge, which Albert accepted. The only way Albert can keep his honor as a man—and as the defender of Violet's honor—is to not back down. Abe is to be his second in the duel.

Rosemary goes with Abe North to check on Albert, who has continued to drink and is in an alcohol-induced fog. He has written a note to Violet and is concerned how she will make it since he has no life insurance. Rosemary tries unsuccessfully to talk him out of going through with the duel. He reveals the sad state of his marriage. He and Violet lost their only daughter when she was only seven years old, and their marriage has been rocky ever since. Apparently Violet called him a coward during his argument with Barban, and Albert is refuses to back out of the duel.

Abe has the dueling pistols, which Barban always carries with him on trips, and lets Albert hold one to get familiar with them. He says the duel will be the least risky one possible, with the duelers separated by 40 paces instead of eight or 20. Abe also promises to take Albert over the Italian border to avoid arrest should he shoot Barban.

Book 1, Chapter 11

When Rosemary goes down to the lobby, Campion asks her to go watch the duel with him, but she declines. However, her mother tells her she should go, and so Rosemary obeys her "sure, clear voice" as she always does.

In a hotel car Campion and Rosemary surreptitiously follow the car taking Abe North and Albert McKisco to the duel at an area golf course. Telling the driver to park in a grove of pine trees, Rosemary and Campion continue on foot to watch the action. When they fire, both men miss so no one is harmed. Tommy Barban tries to demand another round of shots, but Abe firmly insists the duel is over. Albert drunkenly tries to brag about his success, and Abe is equally firm with him, trying to deescalate the situation. When Barban's second asks to be paid for his role, Abe pays him while Albert vomits in the bushes. Meanwhile, Campion has collapsed and Rosemary is reduced to hysterical laughter, relieved only with the thought in just a few hours she will get to see Dick again.


Mrs. Speers's commitment to Rosemary becoming more grown up and responsible is again evident in these chapters. When Rosemary wakes up in the middle of the night and ruminates about the evening, she acknowledges she is feeling the "final severance of the umbilical cord" because of her mother's advice about her feelings toward Dick. In essence her mother reminds her she does not need a man because she has been raised to be financially secure and independent. Therefore, if the affair doesn't work out, it's no big deal. She needs to have the experience. Rosemary's relationship with her mother supports the subtle point Fitzgerald is making about how male dominance affects women's expectations; Rosemary's mother subverts the feminine-masculine stereotypes prominent in other areas of the novel.

Suddenly, Rosemary seems wiser and more mature; her character has much more nuance than before. She acts with kindness toward Campion. She tries to talk Albert out of the duel, as a reader gets a glimpse of the character's kind inner nature. She feels troubled when she hears about the sadness in the McKisco's marriage. She is offended when Campion acts like the duel is some sort of spectacle not to be missed, "with McKisco as the tragic clown." And it's significant that Abe treats her like a peer and confidante. As she feels more independent (even though she still depends on her mother's advice), will others begin to treat her more like an adult instead of "Daddy's girl," like the character she played in the movie she was in? Surely she would like this, given her distaste for people who always link her to the role rather than getting to know her. It's one thing she loves about Dick—his refusal to introduce her to others by name.

Readers should note how solid Abe North appears to be in these chapters. It's interesting since he's previously been portrayed as an unsuccessful musician and something of a loser. But here he's the one McKisco calls to be his second. He desires to protect the Divers from knowledge of the duel, showing he has loyalty and can practice restraint. He is both gentle and firm with McKisco, able to control Barban's fieriness, and generous enough to pay the second. All of this will be important to remember as the next section of the novel unfolds.

By now readers should have begun to see alcohol as an important factor in the novel. Many of the characters drink to excess; when they do so, nothing good happens. Alcohol represents the unraveling of people's good traits, something they turn to when they cannot deal with life, and it will only become clearer as the story progresses.

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