Tender is the night is a novel written by Francis Scott Fitzgerald in 1934 and it was his last completed novel. The story is about human degeneration and the decay of love and marriage due to excesses of different kinds and mental disorders. The novel tells us about a young beautiful actress, Rosemary Hoyt, arriving at a Hotel on the French Riviera with her mother for a vacation. There, Rosemary meets Dick Diver, a handsome psychiatrist, and his pretty wife, Nicole Diver. This young couple leads an attractive way of life full of parties and interesting people. Rosemary becomes part of this world and she immediately falls in love with Dick, who shows the same feelings for her. When they are able to consummate their love everything starts changing. Dick becomes an alcoholic and he is accused of having an affair with a young patient. With this questionable behaviour Dick risks his marriage, which seems to be perfect, his friends and the most meaningful thing in his life: his job.It is believed that Fitzgerald wrote this magnificent work of art during the most complex and tender period of his life, for the marriage of the Divers mirrors his own. (Lazyan, M., 2008: 5)
Tender is the night deals with many different themes such as Acting, Perversion and Paternity, but this essay is focused on Excess and Destruction, the most interesting one for it has a close connection with the Jazz Age or the Great Depression that the country was going through at the time the novel was written. This age was a time of excesses for the American people as it followed the World War II. In order to soften the suffering and misery that the war leaves in a country, the Americans found the way of doing it. They made emphasis on the quest for pleasure and enjoyment, but this way of life brought serious consequences to them and these negative results are clearly seen on the characters of the novel. They lead a life full of excesses such as heavy drinking or the pursue of beauty and youth that not only bring them to personal destruction but also their behaviours affect the people around them and in most of the cases the people they love. (Lazyan, M., 2008:2)
“It’s Rosemary I’m thinking of. She’s a natural alcoholic – keeps a bottle of gin in the bathroom and all that – her mother told me.