Study Guide

Tender is the Night Book Two, Chapter Fifteen

By F. Scott Fitzgerald

Book Two, Chapter Fifteen

  • After lunch when Dick goes to Nicole she looks funny and gives him a letter to read.
  • A recent patient had written Nicole to complain that Dick had "seduced her daughter" when she was visiting her mother.
  • Dick remembers how the daughter flirted with him, and how he’d kissed her once, but then pushed her away.
  • He denies everything to Nicole, but she doesn’t quite believe him. He discredits the letter as from "a mental patient." Nicole is offended as she was once just such a patient.
  • Dick tells her to cool it and get the kids in the car for their afternoon excursion.
  • Nicole is quiet in the car. When they stop near the fair they are going to, and Nicole takes off. She’s obviously in a bad state but he gets her to go with them to the fair.
  • At the fair she runs off again and Dick chases her and finds her laughing maniacally on the Ferris wheel, alarming the crowd.
  • He manages to get her away and asks her why she is doing this. She says he knows – that it’s about the letter. He says she’s having a "delusion," and she says she wants a brandy. He says no, that she can only have a beer.
  • She accuses him of telling her she’s imagining things that he doesn’t want her to know.
  • He says they need to get the kids and go, and she releases a stream of incomprehensible talk. She realizes she’s losing it and begs Dick to help her.
  • He manages to get the family in the car, but is not sure how to handle the situation. He thinks that Nicole has to "cure herself" this time.
  • As they near the clinic, Nicole grabs the wheel causing the car to swerve off the road.
  • The kids start shrieking and Nicole starts freaking out.
  • Dick sends the kids up the hill to an inn to get help, while he stays in the car with Nicole.
  • The owner comes down to help. He sends Nicole to sit and wait with Lanier and Topsy. But Dick is afraid Nicole will get a drink at the inn and rushes up to stop her.