Tender Is the Night | Study Guide

F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Tender Is the Night | Book 3, Chapter 1 | Summary

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Summary

On the day before Dick is to return from Rome, Franz Gregorovius's wife Kaethe talks to her husband, expressing her dislike for Nicole. She tells Franz, for example, Nicole treats her unfairly, "as if I smelt bad," and Nicole doesn't like for their children to play together. Franz tells her she must stop such talk, as Nicole's money has funded the clinic.

A week later after Franz and Kaethe have the Divers over for dinner, Kaethe renews her attack. She tells Franz Dick has "been on a debauch" and rails against him as the lesser partner in the clinic—less responsible, less hardworking than Franz. Again, Franz silences her, but as the chapter ends, it is clear Kaethe has put a significant seed of doubt in his mind. Henceforth, Franz does not believe Dick is a serious person.

Analysis

Although Dick has never much liked Kaethe, describing her as "cauliflower" when he first meets her, he has always been kind to her. Even after her comments against him in this chapter, Kaethe realizes "she had been too hard on Dick, whom she admired and of whom she stood in awe." So her comments about him highlight very well the fact his charm is gone. He looks rough, and he often has liquor on his breath. Unless he can pull himself back together, the image people have of him from the past will not last, will not save his reputation or restore people's faith in him.

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