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Tender is the Night

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Chapters 20-23

Chapters 14-19

Chapters 1-3

Summary

Dick and Rosemary pick up right where they had left off. Dick goes to her room, they talk of the four intervening years, and kiss. They part for the night but meet the following morning and go to the set of her movie. They lunch afterward and go to her room and, finally, make love.

Dick runs into Baby in the lobby after his affair. She urges Dick to sell the clinic and move Nicole to England. Dick lunches with Rosemary the following day, and he grows jealous asking about what love affairs she has had in the intervening years. Rosemary leaves in anger, and Dick thinks about how he no longer brings happiness to people.

Frustrated, Dick goes down to the bar and ignores a note from Rosemary telling him she is in her room. Instead of going to her, Dick and Collis go out drinking. Dick dances with a young English girl, but before he knows it, he is drunk, and she is gone. He tries to get a taxi to his hotel, but finds the taxi's price too high. After an argument, Dick slaps the driver and is beaten by a mob of Italians. Dick finds himself in the police station, and after being reprimanded, he punches one of the men present. The police beat Dick and take him to jail. Before landing on the stone floor of the prison, Dick offers someone a hefty sum of money to find Baby Warren.

Baby is awakened and goes immediately to the jail to see Dick. She runs frantically from the Embassy to the Consulate, but despite her pleas and her wealth, they can do nothing until the morning. Baby gets Collis to join her and finally persuades the vice-consul to join her as well. Dick is finally released, but he is badly hurt, and has lost status in the eyes of his sister-in-law.

Commentary

Dick and Rosemary finally finish what they began at the beginning of the book, at the beginning of Dick's fall from grace. This sexual consummation effectively functions as the consummation of Dick's moral dissolution.

In finally sleeping with Rosemary, Dick attempts to make disappear the intervening years in which the affair was on hold, but in actuality he only validates them. He recognizes that since he last saw Rosemary he has become less attractive; he is able to make himself attractive to Rosemary, but his need to do so only reveals that he needs her validation for his own self worth, something that he never would have needed before. In conquering Rosemary, Dick has, in fact, failed. He recognizes this, becomes jealous at what may have happened in between, and lashes out against his own frustration by carousing, reaching out for another girl and erupting in crass violence. The psychological portrait of Dick in his decay, reacting against the person he has become, is masterfully done.

When Dick finally does get violent, at the depth of his fall, he lashes out as an American, without any sort of nobility. Dick, ever the one to strive for grace and control, is humiliated, furious with himself for acting so shamelessly. He cannot reconcile himself to what he has done, cannot make it right, and so his only recourse is to sink deeper, to embrace his new oblivion. Once again, violence marks a crucial turning point in the novel.

Baby saves him from prison but not from himself. Her wealth and her forceful character get Dick released, but she has confirmed what she always thought of him. He is not an aristocrat or a gentleman, but a lush and a brawler. She has gained a moral superiority over Dick, which cannot be erased, and which justifies the way in which she used him only to treat Nicole. Dick, through his decline, has become the tool of the rich he once casually despised.

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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 63 people found this helpful

just had to say...

by gelik, April 24, 2013

to the first reviewer: philistine

0 Comments

5 out of 5 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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