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Themes

Tender is the Night presents a host of beautiful, desperate, and even monstrous transformations. It weaves intricate patterns of the rise and fall of the hearts and lives of some very complicated people driven by extreme goals. They are also driven by deep needs to outrun the past without destroying the present and future. Some characters plummet steeply into disaster’s way, while others rise, surprising us with the depth of their renewal. The transformations of the earth and nature are always held up against those of the characters.

Questions About Transformation

  1. Who has the most drastic transformation in the novel? How do we know they have changed?
  2. Do any of the characters remain fixed in their roles throughout the novel? If so, why not?
  3. Do we see quick transformations? Slow ones? How do we know a character has transformed.
  4. How is World War I described as transformative?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Rosemary doesn’t go through any drastic transformation in Tender is the Night, but by comparing her at the end and at the beginning of the novel we can see a subtle, yet important, change in her character.

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