Tender is the Night – Chapters 8-13

Summary
Dick dreams of Nicole, somewhat dissatisfied that their relationship ended so clinically. While on a vacation in a small Swiss town, Dick meets Nicole and her sister, Baby, by chance. Nicole is quite in love with him and he is taken by her youth. Dick dines with the Warrens, and Baby intimates her plan to lure, with their great wealth, a doctor-groom to take care of Nicole at all times. Dick scoffs at the plan, but before he knows it he is kissing Nicole and in that kiss, he loses any ability he had to keep her out of his heart. Though she does not wish them to marry as Dick suspects, Baby asks Dick to accompany Nicole back to Zurich. They leave for Zurich together and know that they will be together from then on.
By the next scene, Nicole and Dick are engaged, despite the disapproval of Baby. Dick gives his pedigree to try to convince her of his worth; the son of a clergyman, great-grandson of a governor, Yale graduate and Rhodes scholar. A montage follows, highlighting the happy moments of their marriage, the birth of their two children, which send Nicole into depression, and their travels throughout the world. All the while, Dick tries, with increasing difficulty, to maintain financial independence from his rich wife. This montage, which includes the fact that Dicks book sold very well, Nicoles suspicion that Tommy Barban is in love with her, and her suspicions concerning Rosemary, leads right back up to the resumption of the narrative where it had left off.
Dick sits in a cafe with Mrs. Speers, saying goodbye before the actress and her mother leave for America. Dick tells Mrs. Speers in a self-indulgent way that he is in love with her daughter. The mother and daughter leave, and Dick feels Rosemarys absence quite sharply. Dick is also concerned for his wifes mental health after her two recent breakdowns, but by December she seems well again, and they go on holiday to the Alps with Baby and the family. Dr. Gregory appears and proposes to Dick that they buy a clinic together that is going out of business in Switzerland. Baby, intrigued by the idea of having her sister live in close proximity to a sanitarium, urges them to go through with it and offers her financial backing. Dick feels trapped at the prospect of being so financially dependent, but agrees to Dr. Gregorys proposition.
Commentary
We see more clearly how Nicole changes Dicks life. Though trying to busy himself otherwise, Dick meets Nicole again on a funicular carrying them up to a small resort town. The symbolic imagery of ascension parallels that of their relationship as they rise toward engagement. Upon reaching the top, Dick goes to the cheaper hotel, explaining that he is “economizing.” The reappearance of this word recalls Rosemary and the young Nicole, while also highlighting Dicks poverty.
Babys suggestion that the Warrens can buy a doctor-groom for Nicole makes Dick laugh out loud, but money is a partial factor in his decision to marry even though he does not want it to be.
When they kiss, another very important thematic element is revealed, if not the most important. When they kiss, Dick finds proof of his own existence in her eyes. This encapsulates the way that Dicks existence, as the doctors had suspected, becomes reduced to taking care of Nicole. She, not scholarship, becomes his existence. She is his case.
Baby, however, does not approve of the marriage. Even though he is the amazing man to whom we were introduced in Book 1, she pigeonholes him into being a “shabby-snobby” intellectual, and not a true aristocrat. Baby prefers Englishmen and Dick: the American royalty, does not measure up.
Dicks book is published shortly after the marriage and is quite successful. But he cannot write after that. In Nicoles rich montage of thoughts, she notes that Dick can no longer write, and she tires of waiting for him to make more money. Amidst the gaiety of their travels and Nicoles depressions, he ceases to be the writer that he was and it pains him. His intellect has begun to dull, on account, presumably, of Nicole.
The transition from the past to the present and Dicks confession of love for Rosemary with Mrs. Speers is a powerful one. All of the events of the preceding pages are erased or annulled. Dicks precocious dreams of great scholarship are gone. Dick has given up his aspirations for Nicole, and Nicole has shown signs of relapse into insanity. In a way, he has lost. It is in this state that he accepts the idea to purchase the clinic.

Tender is the Night – Chapters 8-13

Summary
Tommy arrives at the Divers house. He and Nicole drink a bottle of wine, then drive toward his hotel. At Nicoles 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 oclock 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
Commentary
In the face of Dicks 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 Dicks 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.
The scene in which Dick relinquishes his wife to Tommy with such maturity further reinforces this claim. He does so with great grace, and does not allow himself to depend on anyone but himself for emotional support. He has achieved at least a partial escape from his dissolution. In curing his patient he was deeply affected and scarred, and missed out on his ambitions, but he was not destroyed.
The fact that Nicole ends up with a military man, a soldier and a mercenary, is an interesting one. She fell in love with Dick when she saw him in his uniform, but Dick was not a soldier. Also, the fact that Tommy restrains Nicole when she wishes to go help her husband raises the suggestion that though she has found her freedom she will never be completely free from Dick; that their influence on each other will always, in some form, remain.
Dicks life is similarly ambiguous, though less stable or happy than Nicoles. After gaining a final validation of his former glory and attractiveness from Mary, Dick disappears. He moves to America and becomes a rumour, a fitting existence for a man who dedicated his life to curing someone else. Yet he regains his charm, and embraces America, as his movement from city to small town represents. Not to say his life is perfectly happy: he carries with him regret, and perhaps for this reason he cannot die in the end of the novel, but, like Nicoles father, lives on. Dicks greatest achievement, it seems, was curing Nicole, and both of them will forever be affected by the creative struggle that that cure entailed.
The fact that at the novels end the perspective remains with Nicole rather than follow Dick serves several purposes. On the one hand it allows Dick to disappear in mystery, to dissolve. On the other hand, it establishes Nicole as Dicks caretaker, as the healthy one. In her health, Dick achieves validation for the decision he made to devote himself to Nicole. He achieved greatness through his cure of one person, at least. Yet even while highlighting Dicks greatness, this stylistic mood also reduces him, transforms him from hero to helper, and fixes Nicole at the novels center.