The Role of Alcohol in Tender is the Night
All of the main characters in Tender is the Night are wealthy enough that they can lead a life of leisure. One of the main activities of this lifestyle is drinking. Drunkenness causes and is the result of many negative things that happen to the characters. This is evidenced the most by the actions of Abe North and Dick Diver. The first time we meet Dick Diver in Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night he is "going from umbrella to umbrella carrying a bottle and little glasses in his hands"(Fitzgerald, 11). From that point on there is alcohol involved in almost every scene.
The first time that alcohol played a major role was in the duel between Tommy Barban and Mr. McKisco. McKisco was drunk when he challenged Tommy to the duel. He was also drunk when the duel went on. Both shots missed and the duel was over, but the role of alcohol had made its impression.
Abe North was the first character to be portrayed as an alcoholic. Rosemaary noticed that "his eyes were bloodshot form sun and wine"(Fitzgerald, 60) and that "he was always stopping in places to get a drink"(Fitzgerald, 60). He repeatedly missed the boat back to America and as a result of his drinking habits a dead Negro appeared in Rosemary's bedroom. Abe North eventually died in a fight at a speakeasy. Drinking caused his entire downfall. There really was not much background given on Abe that would give the reasons that he drank. His career was not very successful, but it really could not be determined which came first, his drinking or his lack of success.
Rosemary had her first drink with the Divers and the Norths. She did this because she thought it would somehow bring her closer to the group. She thought, "Dick drank, not too much, but he drank, and perhaps it would bring her closer to him, be a part of the equipment for what she had to do"(Fitzgerald, 61). Rosemary did not use alcohol the same way that Dick and Abe did. She used it to fit into the group and as an excuse for her behavior when she told Dick to "take (her)" (Fitzgerald, 64). That was what she meant by equipment. She knew that she could not do such a thing sober, but if she were drunk it could be excused. Rosemary used alcohol as a tool to get what she wanted; she did not use it as an escape from reality like Dick and Abe.
When Dick Diver first appeared, his first impression on Rosemary affected her so deeply that she went and told her mother, "I fell in love on the beach"(Fitzgerald, 12). His presence made a strong impact on those around him. At the end, it was only known through rumors that he was probably in some part of New York. Alcohol played a major role in his fall from the center of attention. In all of Book 1, Dick was mainly seen through the eyes of Rosemary. She saw him as her savior when he saved her from having to deal with the ramifications of having the dead Negro found in her room. In Book 2 we began to see that Dick was...