Literature Study GuidesTender Is The NightBook 3 Chapters 12 13 Summary

Tender Is the Night | Study Guide

F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Tender Is the Night | Book 3, Chapters 12–13 | Summary

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Summary

Book 3, Chapter 12

Dick spends his last full day at Villa Diana with his children. Saying goodbye to them is very painful. He leaves notes for Nicole and Baby Warren, and bids farewell to the servants. Then he decides to visit Gausse's Beach one last time.

Later, Nicole and Baby and the children also go to the beach, and Nicole spies Dick sitting alone on a rock. She and Baby argue briefly about Dick's goodness, with Nicole defending him as a good husband.

Dick moves up on the terrace above the beach, where he sits drinking anisette with Mary Minghetti. She remarks about how much like his old self he was on the night he rescued her and Sibly-Biers from jail. When she strongly suggests he stop drinking, however, he is angered. After a few more drinks, he calms down and resorts to his old methods of flattering women, telling Mary: "There has always been something between you and me." However, a sort of insane laughter bubbles up inside of him, and the moment is lost.

As Dick stands to leave, blessing the beach with a hand, Nicole sees it. She tries to go to him, but Tommy firmly holds her back.

Book 3, Chapter 13

Dick goes to Buffalo and drifts around the area practicing medicine rather unsuccessfully. Reports of him do not make it seem like he is totally unhappy, but it seems clear he must keep moving because he gets into some trouble. In a few years he quits asking to have the children visit. Nicole loses touch with him. His last known location is a very small town in New York named Hornell.

Analysis

The last chapter is told from Nicole's perspective, showing her understanding the story she and Dick created together has ended. Readers might feel dissatisfied with the ending of the novel, but there is little left to say. A once-great love has ended. Dick has not lived up to his promise. Yet he has had one great success in life. Nicole is apparently healed. Perhaps he thinks of that as his one masterpiece, and it is enough.

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