Study Guide

Tender is the Night Book Three, Chapter Seven

By F. Scott Fitzgerald

Book Three, Chapter Seven

  • Dick and Nicole go to the beach the next day and Nicole worries about what’s happening to her marriage, how she and Dick are changing, and how unpredictable he’s become. She is not sure if she will be hurt from it.
  • She knows some climax was coming, and isn’t afraid of what will happen after. She knows something has to give. But she is afraid of what the climax might consist of.
  • Nicole steels herself when she sees Dick looking for Rosemary.
  • Nicole spots her on the raft and points her out to Dick.
  • He convinces Nicole to swim out to her with him.
  • Nicole swims around and Dick climbs up on the raft with Rosemary. And Nicole is surprised by how beautiful the young woman is, but is happy she’s a little skinnier than Rosemary.
  • Nicole sees Dick grow a little happier hanging out with Rosemary and she absorbs herself in swimming. Dick swims after her and tells her Rosemary knows some people with a boat and has invited them to go "aquaplane."
  • The people seem younger than they are, and Dick has trouble aquaplaning and gets angry, but then laughs it off. But it gets on Nicole’s nerves.
  • Back on the beach Rosemary tells Dick that she’s heard he was different. She says she is happy to see he hasn’t changed and that he’s fine.
  • Then she points out Mrs. Abrams and Mary on the beach.
  • When Mary sees them, first she snubs them. Then changes her mind and comes over when she sees Rosemary. Dick asks Mary about the sisters and the kids, but Mary ignores him and leaves.
  • Rosemary is taken aback by his unforgiving attitude toward about Mary. She remembers hearing someone gossiping about Baby and saying that Nicole had "thrown herself away" on Dick – that Dick was ruined socially.
  • Nicole is uncomfortable and wants to leave. She predicts Dick will recover in Rosemary’s eyes. He does and they start flirting again. Rosemary asks them if they’ve seen her latest movies and if they liked them.
  • Dick begins talking about the theory of acting, in an attempt to compliment her. This irritates Nicole and confuses Rosemary.
  • Then Rosemary asks Topsy if she wants to be an actress when she grows up. Nicole smacks her down harshly then says she’s going home with the kids.
  • Rosemary looks shocked, but Nicole doesn’t say bye to her.
  • Nicole feels like an almost whole person driving home – like she doesn’t need Dick anymore. She imagines Dick wants her to be whole. Then, she writes a letter to Tommy.
  • That night she is less confident and fears what Dick might be planning. But they have a pleasant evening nonetheless.
  • The next day when Nicole comes back from some shopping, Dick has left word that he’ll be out of town for a few days.
  • While she reads, Tommy calls and says he got what she wrote to him and is coming to see her.

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