Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tender Is the Night (Novel)

F. Scott Fitzgerald. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1933 (1961).

Why read it? Is this the standard American love story? Dick Diver, a psychiatrist, is self-confident, the envy of everyone. His patient Nicole is completely dependent on him. She marries him. She begins to develop independence. Dick begins to fall apart. In the end she is completely free of his influence. And Dick is a wreck.

A variation on “A Star Is Born.” The rising actress marries the established star and soon the established star begins to fade as she succeeds in becoming an established star. A similar theme in Dreiser’s Sister Carrie.

Sample quotes:

“I haven’t seen a paper lately but I suppose there’s a war—there always is.” p. 39. ………. “This land here [battlefield] cost twenty lives that summer.” p. 67. ………. “...there she was—embodying all the immaturity of the race.” p. 80.

“Tell a secret over the radio, publish it in a tabloid, but never tell it to a man who drinks more than three or four a day.” p. 87. ………. “I am a woman and my business is to hold things together.” p. 94. ………. “Trouble is when you’re sober you don’t want to see anybody, and when you’re tight nobody wants to see you.” p. 95. ………. “…the fine quiet of the scholar which is nearest of all things to heavenly peace.": p. 132.

“She’s a pretty girl—any body responds to that to a certain extent.” p. 159. ………. “…an American girl of fifteen who had been brought up on the basis that childhood was intended to be all fun….” p. 209. ………. “Good-by, my father—good-by, all my fathers.” p. 229.

“I like France, where everybody thinks he’s Napoleon—down here [Italy] everybody thinks he’s Christ.” p. 247. ………. “It had been a hard night but she had the satisfaction of feeling that whatever Dick’s previous record was, they now possessed a moral superiority over him for as long as he proved of any use.” p. 263. ……… “…a crab-like retreat toward the nearest door.” p. 275.

“We get a lot of understanding at the end of life.” p. 277. ………. “I never understood what common sense meant applied to complicated problems—unless it means that a general practitioner can perform a better operation than a specialist.” p. 285. ………. “…you used to want to create things—now you seem to want to smash them up.” p. 297.

“Dick’s bitterness had surprised Rosemary, who had thought of him as all-forgiving, all comprehending.” p. 318. ……… “Why, I’m almost complete…. I’m practically standing alone, without him.” p. 321. ………. “ ‘I’ll have to’—she stopped herself from saying ‘to wait until I can ask Dick,’ and instead finished with ‘I’ll write and I’ll phone you tomorrow.’ ”

“That he no longer controlled her—did he know that?” ………. [After the formal breakup]: “…and the old little wish that she could tell Dick all about it faded quickly.”

Comment: I wonder if this love story is everyone’s love story. RayS.

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