The Descent of Dick Diver in Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night Essays

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The Descent of Dick Diver in Tender is the Night Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald chronicles Dick Diver's long descent (or "dying fall," [Letters 310]) to ruin at the hands of women. Diver, the novel's protagonist and antagonist, seeks to overthrow feminine power. Dick needs to control the women in his life. To him, women want to be dependent; they are weak, lost souls who need the guidance only a man can give. In turn, women are parasites who feed on him and ultimately destroy his genius. Before Diver becomes involved with woman, he is a Rhodes Scholar and a promising young Psychiatrist. By the end of the novel he is a middle-aged drunk chasing young women. Dick Diver, flaw credible, possesses…show more content…
Instead, Diver must increasingly "restate the universe for her", as part of her treatment. Nicole follows Dick "walking on her hands". She is after all "one to whom nothing need be explained and one to whom nothing could be explained". When the dying Mr. Warren requests to see his daughter, Diver claims she "is not strong enough to decide the matter for herself (249). Diver consults Franz but does not allow Nicole a say in the situation. Thus, Diver exhibits his controlling character in maintaining the right to make his wife's decisions for her. Nicole has no identity of her own: she identifies herself with Dick and is so dependent on him that she almost wants to be him. So much so that she even wants to become a writer like him: "I want to be a fine person like you, Dick, -- I would study medicine." When Diver once describes his love for Nicole, he calls it "a wild submergence of soul, a dipping of all colors into an obscuring dye." There is little doubt that he believes Nicole is entirely to blame for the loss of his youthful personality. Nicole sucked the life out of him: all his energy is diverted to her needs and when she has used him enough, she abandons him for another man. She is the cause of his marked degeneration; she is, after all, a woman whose wealth and mental instability stunt his

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