View Full Version : Tender is the Night - Structure and Function

01-14-2007, 01:24 AM
Structure is a key element in making this novel work so well. He creates a godlike man in Dick Diver, the way we humans, despising our own insufficiencies and limitations, often idolize an acquaintance or friend that has more wit, money, poise, or character. We are pulled in, like a crowd before a magician, totally believing the lie about Dick that we believe in our friends. It is the lie that makes us unhappy with ourselves. Then, like a film that rewinds, the story takes us back to before the lie, and it shows us the real Dick Diver. From the intimate, real angle, we see the same events. How can I compare the thrill of seeing the same thing from a revelatory, new angle? Like seeing The Sixth Sense for the second time! We see the fragile, tottering Dick. We see he is like us, too.

This book reminds me of a revelatory moment in 7th grade. I used to always covet the looks of a boy who looked like me, just the nicer model. My nose was (and is) big. My hair didn't spike perfectly as his blond hair did. His face was well-shaped and smooth. One day, however, I saw that my other friend had written in his journal that he coveted my hair, how perfect it was. At that moment I realized no one is ever happy. If my bad-haired friend were to have my hair, he'd also wish for Drew's, as I do. And if we had Drew's appearance, we'd long for that of another, better-looking gent. It will never end, unless by realizing the lie of "arriving", we stop the chain of coveting, and stand happily where we are.

Structure in Tender is the Night is key in making this novel work. By replaying the same time-frame twice, he more effectively shows the duality (or plurality!) of perception of reality.

05-29-2007, 02:03 PM
I've read 1/5 of the novel in this morning but i still didn't understand why it's considered as a classic. It's really ordinary and technically weak novel, well... Though i didn't finish the novel, i will post other thoughts on the book when i finish it.

01-27-2008, 12:11 PM
I finished this novel a week ago and I liked it! It was so intriguing!

06-10-2011, 09:23 PM
The first book is the least exciting of the three...