Study Guide

Tender is the Night Book Two, Chapter Twelve

By F. Scott Fitzgerald

Book Two, Chapter Twelve

  • Dick goes to Nicole in her garden and tells her about meeting with Elsie in Cannes today. Nicole says she likes her and wishes she’d been there. He makes small talk with Nicole about others he met there, but doesn’t feel like talking to her.
  • He wants to think about "work and the future," to try to make that stronger than the pain of "love and to-day." Nicole is aware of this but in a deep, sad way. He could feel her simultaneously despising him and wanting to be close to him.
  • He wanders to the house and winds up at the piano, and plays the song he heard in the background when he called Rosemary that day after missing her at the studio.
  • He thinks Nicole will hear it and guess what he was up to, so he stops, not knowing where to be. He feels like this house is Nicole’s, as it was bought with her money.
  • Yet Dick owns his workhouse, and makes enough money himself to pay for his son’s nanny, travel alone sometimes, and live frugally when he does. He’s never depended on Warren money.
  • He thinks Nicole encourages him not to pursue his work, that she wants him to be dependant on her. He sees the buying of the house as the beginning of the end.
  • He knows that if he’s afraid to play the piano freely, his life is too small.
  • In November, the Riviera is stormy and the hotel closes down. Dick and Nicole meet people in Cannes, but mostly work and enjoy their children.
  • Nicole seems to be put together so in December Dick, Nicole, Baby, and their kids head to the Swiss Alps to celebrate Christmas.