Time is controversial in Tender is the Night – so controversial that F. Scott Fitzgerald made notes to put it in chronological order after its publication. The novel’s sharp jumps back and forth through time can leave us pleasantly disoriented or dizzy with confusion. On top of that, the past is like quicksand for some of the characters. They need to overcome it to live happily in the present, but the more they try to outrun it, the deeper they sink. Occasionally, the past is overcome and the characters live their dreams, if only for a few moments.
The broken chronology of Tender is the Night helps to put us in the place of the characters.