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Tender is the Night

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Chapters 1-3

Chapters 20-23

Chapters 4-7

Summary

Frau Kaethe, the wife of Dr. Gregory, shares with her husband the dislike she harbors toward the Divers. She explains that Nicole treats her terribly, like a diseased person, and that she has begun to smell liquor on Dick's breath as he goes about his rounds. Dr. Gregory tries to defend his colleague, but her accusations have taken root, and he looks for a way to dislodge Dick from the clinic. He suggests to Dick that he go meet a wealthy prospective patient and his father. Senor Pardo y Cuidad Real, a Chilean, wanted to have his son, Francisco, admitted to eradicate his homosexual tendencies and his alcoholism. Dick concludes the case is hopeless, but happens upon another, more interesting case.

Dick meets a man he met on the Riviera, a member of the McKisco party, who offers him condolences on the imminent death of Nicole's father. Dick discovers that Mr. Warren is dying and has come to Switzerland hoping to apologize to Nicole for his sexual abuse. Dick decides to consult Dr. Gregory concerning whether Nicole can see her father before giving his approval. Calling the clinic, Dick reaches Frau Kaethe and tells her the news and urges her to find her husband. She accidentally tells Nicole the news, and she rushes down to see her father. But before she arrives, Mr. Warren has risen from his deathbed and fled.

A week later, an angry father volubly removes his alcoholic son from treatment at the clinic, on hearing that the boy had smelled liquor on Dick's breath several times. This is the last straw; when Dr. Gregory hears about it he agrees, with far less resistance than Dick would have suspected, that Dick should leave the clinic.

Commentary

These scenes serve to further highlight Dick's professional self-destruction. Though he intends to set a regimen for himself to reduce his alcohol intake, he does not think drinking is a problem even though it his job to cure people of alcoholism. His resignation in the face of the prospective patient underscores his professional boredom. Dick has reached the end of the line as a professional clinician. /PARAGRAPH It is interesting that Kaethe makes the accusations that bring Dick down. She is a European worker, and Fitzgerald takes pains to point out the fact that she smells like one. She dislikes and distrusts the Americans, who view her as a peasant. She, characterized as a true product of European soil, detects the dissolution of the American before anyone else. Her powers of perception derive from her steadiness, a trait presented as thoroughly un-American.

Mr. Warren's appearance and his desire to apologize to Nicole on his deathbed emphasize the fear of the truth that runs through the novel. Dick concludes, telling an apathetic Nicole, that it was fear that shook Mr. Warren out of his deathbed and back to America. Perhaps Dick offers such a skillful diagnosis because he himself understands the symptoms so deeply. Both he and Mr. Warren fear the truth of their pasts and must evade them.

Dick's father is the only person who dies peacefully in the entire book. Regret plays a fundamental role in the novel. Those who regret cannot die peacefully or simply cannot die. The fact that Dick continues to live on at the close of the book reinforces the strength of his regret.

More Help

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TERRIBLE

by deadendjustice, December 19, 2012

Do NOT read this book it is dull and boring.. go for the outsiders!!!!!

1 Comments

6 out of 65 people found this helpful

just had to say...

by gelik, April 24, 2013

to the first reviewer: philistine

0 Comments

5 out of 6 people found this helpful

Fitzgerald birth year correction

by RevMJR1015, January 14, 2014

I'm almost certain Fitzgerald was born in 1896, not '97.

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