Tender is the Night, by F. Scott Fitzgerald – Quick Book Summary



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Embark on a comprehensive voyage through F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Tender is the Night” in this scholarly summary. Explore the captivating characters, compelling plot, and profound themes embedded in this American classic, all wrapped neatly in a package of 1500 words. Dive in to discover why this novel is a cornerstone of Jazz Age literature.

“The victor belongs to the spoils.”

– Tender is the Night, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Book Information:

Title: Tender is the Night
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Genre: Historical Fiction
Year Published: 1934

Brief Overview:

A story about psychiatrist Dick Diver and his tragic marriage with the mentally unstable Nicole Diver, “Tender is the Night” explores the depths of human despair and recovery.


Author’s Background:

F. Scott Fitzgerald, one of the greatest American authors, is well known for his depiction of the Jazz Age. His other significant works include “The Great Gatsby” and “This Side of Paradise”.

Publication Context:

“Tender is the Night” was Fitzgerald’s fourth novel, published in 1934. It came after the success of “The Great Gatsby” but received mixed reviews on release.

Character Summary

Main Characters:

Dick Diver, a charming and talented psychiatrist; Nicole Diver, Dick’s wife suffering from schizophrenia; Rosemary Hoyt, a young film star, who becomes infatuated with Dick.

Character Development:

As the story progresses, Dick’s charismatic persona wanes under the strain of Nicole’s mental illness, leading to his gradual downfall. Nicole, in contrast, gains strength and independence.

Plot Summary


“Tender is the Night” revolves around the lives of the Divers in the French Riviera, showcasing their glamorous life followed by a stark downfall, influenced by mental illness and marital discord.


The story unfolds in the backdrop of the 1920s French Riviera, a symbol of opulence and decadence, before moving to Switzerland and America.

Themes and Motifs

Key Themes:

The book explores themes of love, mental illness, disillusionment, and the destructive effects of wealth and decadence.

Motifs and Symbols:

The use of lights symbolizes hope and illusion; the clinic in Switzerland stands as a symbol for Nicole’s mental condition.

Takeaway Morals


The narrative emphasizes the importance of mental health and the devastating consequences of ignoring it. It also portrays the disillusionment of wealth and glamour.


These lessons resonate today, reminding us to prioritize mental health and not to be misled by superficial glamour.


Literary Devices:

Fitzgerald employs foreshadowing, symbolism, and vivid imagery to convey the narrative’s deep emotional and psychological layers.

Style and Tone:

The author’s style is poetic and eloquent, with an undertone of despair and melancholy reflecting the tragic lives of the characters.

Critical Reception

Initial Reception:

Upon its release, the novel received mixed reviews, with some critics finding it less impactful than “The Great Gatsby”.

Current Standing:

Today, “Tender is the Night” is considered a classic and a poignant exploration of human vulnerability.

My Thoughts

Personal Opinion:

“Tender is the Night” is a rollercoaster of emotions – like eating a well-cooked steak, but you realize halfway through that it’s tofu. Jokes aside, it’s a hauntingly beautiful read.

Personal Recommendation:

I’d recommend it to anyone seeking a deep dive into human psychology and those who appreciate finely crafted narratives.

About the Author


F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) was an American author known for his novels and short stories depicting the Jazz Age.

Literary Career:

Fitzgerald’s career was marked by his remarkable novels, such as “The Great Gatsby”, “This Side of Paradise”, and “Tender is the Night”. His writings contributed significantly to American literature.

Book Details

Publication Details:

“Tender is the Night” felt like taking a long swim in the Mediterranean Sea, only to realize halfway through that you don’t actually know how to swim. It was enticingly beautiful, yet startlingly deep and turbulent.

Fitzgerald’s ability to evoke emotions is second to none – I found myself simultaneously charmed and frustrated with the characters, much like when I tried to assemble IKEA furniture without instructions. It was a rich, haunting experience, like biting into a seemingly sweet candy only to find it filled with bitter dark chocolate.

But in all honesty, the narrative’s allure lies in its bitter-sweetness, its ability to depict the highs of glamour and the lows of despair in such a moving manner. It left a lasting impression, making me contemplate the complexity of the human psyche long after I had turned the last page.

Structural Details:

If you are the kind of reader who seeks more than just a superficial narrative – one who appreciates depth, character exploration, and psychological insights – “Tender is the Night” is a book you shouldn’t miss.

If you’re a fan of rich, poetic prose and intricate plot lines, this novel will be like a fine wine – it might feel overwhelming at first, but once you develop a taste for it, it’s a memorable experience. Don’t approach it as a breezy beach read, because this book is more akin to a deep-sea diving expedition.

It’s for those willing to delve into the dark depths of human frailty, understanding that beneath the glitz and glamour of the Jazz Age, there often lies unspoken despair. So, if you’re ready for an intense literary adventure, buckle up and dive in.



“Tender is the Night” is a gripping exploration of love, mental illness, and the disillusionment of wealth, set amidst the Jazz Age’s glamour. It’s a profound study of human nature and its frailties.

Final Thoughts:

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Tender is the Night” is not merely a novel but a poetic exploration of human vulnerability. Its beauty lies not just in its eloquent prose but also in its ability to stir deep emotions and provoke introspection about the fragility of glamour and the stark reality of mental illness.

This classic leaves an indelible impact, offering a rich, enlightening, and occasionally challenging reading experience. As you turn the last page, you’re left with a sense of having voyaged through the tumultuous seas of human emotions, offering a profound understanding of the human condition.

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