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Tender is the Night

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Chapters 8-13

Summary Chapters 8-13


Tommy arrives at the Divers house. He and Nicole drink a bottle of wine, then drive toward his hotel. At Nicole's urging, they stop midway at a beach hotel and make love. An American ship is leaving, and the local girls all wave goodbye. Nicole and Tommy make love again. Before daylight, Nicole returns home. Dick returns home that afternoon and finds Nicole confident and effectively cured. Finding him upset, Nicole tries to comfort Dick, but it is no use.

At two o'clock that night, Dick receives a call that Mary North and Lady Caroline have landed themselves in prison, impersonating sailors and picking up girls. Dick spins out a yarn for the jailer that they are American royalty and the jailer releases them for a bribe.

The next day, Dick and Nicole go to get their hair cut together. Before the cuts are finished, Tommy Barban appears and wants to talk. Tommy announces coolly that Nicole loves him and not Dick. The criminal that Dick met outside the movie studio in Paris appears announcing the Tour de France. They learn that the Tour will pass through any minute and the three quickly and gracefully decide that Dick and Nicole will divorce. /PARAGRAPH On the beach, Nicole and Tommy sit together while Dick has one last conversation with Mary North. She praises his old self, saying how everybody loved Dick. Dick crosses the beach like a pope. Nicole wants to go to him, but Tommy restrains her.

In three paragraphs, we learn that Nicole marries Tommy, and Dick moves to New York to practice medicine. Nicole hears that he is well respected, but keeps moving to smaller and smaller towns, even married once, presumably to escape problems with girls. /PARAGRAPH


In the face of Dick's weakness, Nicole finds her freedom. Fitzgerald writes, "The case was finished: Doctor Diver was at liberty." This sentence, in its reference to Dick once more as Doctor Diver, raises the possibility that Dick's abhorrent behavior had all been a ploy to encourage the recuperation of his wife. /PARAGRAPH However, it is a far stronger conclusion that Dick was truly ruined in the process of curing Nicole. The fact that he is called Doctor Diver, in this view, taking on a powerful irony.

Yet though the second view seems more easily supportable than the first, Dick is not wholly ruined at the end of the book, as the scene in which he rescues Mary from prison reveals. He is still quite capable of acting with the extraordinary resolve and charisma that made him such a compelling man at the beginning of the book. This scene serves simply to show that the heroic Dick has not wholly been lost.

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