The Role of Alcohol in Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night Essays

The Role of Alcohol in Tender is the Night

All of the main characters in Tender is the Night are wealthy enough that they can lead a life of leisure. One of the main activities of this lifestyle is drinking. Drunkenness causes and is the result of many negative things that happen to the characters. This is evidenced the most by the actions of Abe North and Dick Diver. The first time we meet Dick Diver in Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night he is "going from umbrella to umbrella carrying a bottle and little glasses in his hands"(Fitzgerald, 11). From that point on there is alcohol involved in almost every scene.

The first time that alcohol played a major role was in the duel between Tommy Barban and Mr. McKisco. McKisco was drunk when he challenged Tommy to the duel. He was also drunk when the duel went on. Both shots missed and the duel was over, but the role of alcohol had made its impression.

Abe North was the first character to be portrayed as an alcoholic. Rosemaary noticed that "his eyes were bloodshot form sun and wine"(Fitzgerald, 60) and that "he was always stopping in places to get a drink"(Fitzgerald, 60). He repeatedly missed the boat back to America and as a result of his drinking habits a dead Negro appeared in Rosemary's bedroom. Abe North eventually died in a fight at a speakeasy. Drinking caused his entire downfall. There really was not much background given on Abe that would give the reasons that he drank. His career was not very successful, but it really could not be determined which came first, his drinking or his lack of success.

Rosemary had her first drink with the Divers and the Norths. She did this because she thought it would somehow bring her closer to the group. She...

... middle of paper ...

...He no longer practiced medicine and he was not helping Nicole get any better. His drinking went on to cause him further unhappiness by making things with Nicole even worse, and was the reason that he lost both his social standing and his career.

Alcohol had some effect on all the characters in Tender is the Night either directly or through a loved one. It was the cause of the ruin of two of the main characters. Drinking played a very important role in many of the events that took place.

Works Cited and Consulted:

Bruccoli, Matthew J. and Judith S. Baughman. Reader's Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender Is the Night.

Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1996.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. Tender is the Night. New York: Collier Books. 1982.

Stern, Milton R. Tender Is the Night: The Broken Universe. New York: Twayne, 1994.
Get Access