Tender Is the Night | Study Guide

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic
MLA

Bibliography

Course Hero. "Tender Is the Night Study Guide." Course Hero. 23 Aug. 2017. Web. 24 Apr. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Tender-Is-the-Night/>.

In text

(Course Hero)

APA

Bibliography

Course Hero. (2017, August 23). Tender Is the Night Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved April 24, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Tender-Is-the-Night/

In text

(Course Hero, 2017)

Chicago

Bibliography

Course Hero. "Tender Is the Night Study Guide." August 23, 2017. Accessed April 24, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Tender-Is-the-Night/.

Footnote

Course Hero, "Tender Is the Night Study Guide," August 23, 2017, accessed April 24, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Tender-Is-the-Night/.

Tender Is the Night | Book 2, Chapters 8–10 | Summary

Share
Share

Summary

Book 2, Chapter 8

Dick Diver is miserable over the next weeks. He misses Nicole desperately. When he spies her with her sister one day, it's as if all the air is sucked out of the world around him. His response to his severe emotions is to write a professional memo to himself, pointing out the likelihood of her relapse. He busies himself with a further dalliance with the telephone operator from his military days, making plans for a trip home, and diving more deeply into his writing.

Then, when he takes a small vacation in the Swiss Alps, he runs into Nicole and her sister, traveling with an Italian admirer of Nicole's named Conte de Marmora, the young man's parents, and Nicole's sister, Baby Warren. Nicole's continuing love for Dick is clear, and although he tries to drown out the voices advising him against pursuing the affair, he decides they are "unimportant voices that did not know how much he was loved."

Book 2, Chapter 9

That evening, Dick Diver joins Nicole and her party for dinner at their hotel. Baby Warren seeks Dick's professional opinions about Nicole, whom she worries about constantly. He reassures Baby Nicole is mostly fine. Baby tells him she's planning to marry Nicole off to one successful doctor or another in Chicago, thereby ensuring her safe future. Dick finds the idea ridiculous.

When they notice Nicole is missing, Dick goes to find her. She is standing by the lake and tells Dick she needed to escape from the excitement of the day, feeling overstimulated. Then she talks to Dick about how much she desires him—and how she knows "everything about you and me." Finally, as she begs him to give her a chance, he gives in and kisses her—and likes it a lot.

A sudden storm blows up, and Dick and Nicole must run back to the hotel. By the time they arrive, Dick is asking himself a crucial question: "For Doctor Diver to marry a mental patient? How did it happen? Where did it begin?" He is in love.

The next day Dick goes for a swim and is gone until dinner. Upon his return, he finds two notes. One is from Nicole, thanking him for the best night of her life. The other is from Baby, announcing she has had to leave and is giving Nicole over to his care, to take back to the clinic. The second note angers Dick greatly. He assumes he is the doctor Baby has decided to marry Nicole off to, although Fitzgerald points out the error of this thinking. Baby just wants her life to be convenient for her at all times, and this plan is what works for her at the moment. As Dick delivers Nicole to the door of the clinic, the future is clear: "her problem was one they had together for good now."

Book 2, Chapter 10

September finds Dick telling Baby about his intentions to marry Nicole. She does not think it is advisable, but she also does not block it. She is mostly concerned he does not take advantage of Nicole's money, which he says he could care less about.

Then the chapter suddenly shifts into a first-person narration by Nicole. It is not always clear to whom she is speaking, but the snippets are from the time of the marriage until the summer of 1925. Nicole reveals details about such things as the money arrangements being made as part of the marriage, her travels with Dick, and the births of their children. After her daughter is born, she suffers a breakdown and is hospitalized.

Sometimes Nicole is speaking to Dick in these sections, about their marriage and how much she loves it. At other times her words read like diary entries. She mentions the Norths and Tommy Barban, saying she knows Tommy is in love with her. What is clear overall is Nicole struggles still with mental illness. She reveals her split personality, saying sometimes she is Dick and sometimes she is her son. This narration continues up to the point at which Rosemary enters the scene.

Analysis

Since readers have seen the trajectory of Dick's relationship with Rosemary, they should see the parallels between their relationship and how his love for Nicole develops. Nicole is younger than he is, just as Rosemary is. When he says to her at the lake, "You're a fetching kid, but I couldn't fall in love," it is remarkably similar to what he says to Rosemary when she first declares her love to him. Once he kisses Nicole, however, his attitude changes, just as it did when he began enjoying his kisses with Rosemary. He falls in love quickly at that point. And why not? After all, he is a narcissist whose greatest desire is to be loved.

The fact Baby does not know the role her father has played in Nicole's mental illness gives Dick some power over her—power he will never exercise, but it nonetheless fuels his ability to hold his own with her.

The first-person sections in Nicole's voice are extremely important in understanding her level of mental instability through the years. No amount of descriptive detail could be as effective in revealing this as following her thoughts. What is also evident, however, is the level of intelligence and awareness she has. There is a strength about her that is also important to note as the rest of the story unfolds.

These sections are also a brilliant way for Fitzgerald to quickly move through the years and return to the opening of Book 1, to the day when Rosemary observes Nicole translating a recipe for chicken à la Maryland into French. This entry reveals Nicole is having split personality disorder—and the timing of that is just before the dinner party at which Violet McKisco sees her having a breakdown. Yet, no one around Nicole on the beach at that time seems to know she is so unstable. Nicole has become very good at hiding it. This, too, is important to remember as the rest of the story is told.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Tender Is the Night? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!

Ask a homework question - tutors are online