F. Scott Fitzgerald is known as a writer who chronicled his
times. This work has been critically acclaimed for portraying the sentiments of
the American people during the 1920s and 1930s. The Great Gatsby was
written in 1924, whilst the Fitzgeralds were staying on the French Riviera, and
Tender is the Night was written nearly ten years later, is set on, among
other places, the Riviera. There are very interesting aspects of these works,
such as the way Fitzgerald treats his so-called heroes, and to what extent we
can call them heroic. Gatsby and Diver are both presented as wealthy men leading
privileged lives. The Great Gatsby was written before the Depression, and
the optimism and faith in the power of money within the novel demonstrates this
belief that people had. Notably, it is the characters faith in riches, and
not Fitzgeralds own. Gatsby is a self-made millionaire, making his money
through bootlegging. He has acquired vast amounts of money, and believes that
this money will help persuade Daisy to love him and leave Tom. This is
illustrated in Chapter five when Daisy is shown around Gatsbys mansion at his
request. He shows her every detail, through from the gardens to his shirts and
he revalued everything in his house according to the measure of response it
drew from her well-loved eyes. Gatsby sees his money and possessions as
wonderful things, but they are also more than that, they are a means to an end,
the end being Daisy. He bough the house because of where it was in relation to
Daisy (across the bay), and he held the most amazing parties in the hope that
Daisy, or someone that knew Daisy would come. Gatsby, in effect, devoted his
whole life to the search for Daisy, and his money is a tool to help him find his
love. Divers attitude to money is very much a contrast to this. Money to him
does not represent freedom and choice, but a bind that ties him and constricts
him. Diver is conscious through the whole novel that he himself is not the
financially dominant member of his marriage, but Nicole, with her seemingly
endless riches. Tender is the Night is written after the Wall Street Crash
and during the Depression, but Fitzgerald has moved his characters away from the
Depression of the United States to the French Riviera, where the Depression did
not leave such a deeply imprinted mark upon society. Diver is representative of
middle class America financially secure but not in a position to spend money
as Nicole does, buying from great lists, and everything she liked that she
couldnt possibly use she bought as a present for a friend. Instead, Dick
felt a discrepancy between the growing luxury in which the Divers lived, and
the need for display which apparently went along with it. Dick feels trapped by
Nicoles money, and constantly tires to assert his independence from it, such
as when he and Nicole started out together, he supported them on his few
thousand a year. However, the Warren family undermined his independence, such as
buying the Divers their clinic in Zurich, in order to protect Nicole. Nicole
wants to own Dick, and once of the ways in which to do so is by her money
(Nicole, wanting to own him encouraged any slackness on his part).

People see the Divers for their money, such as Franz Gregorovious with his plans
for the clinic. It is not that Dick is adverse to the concept of money and
wealth, but he feels that he has become trapped by Nicoles riches (he had
wedded a desire for money to an essentially unacquisitive nature he had
never felt more sure of himself than at the time of his marriage to Nicole.

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Yet he has been swallowed up like a gigolo, and somehow permitted his arsenal to
be locked up in the Warren safety deposit vaults.) Despite both these men
having vast amounts of money at their disposal, thus the theoretical ability to
do or achieve anything they want, neither of these men are happy. Interestingly,
neither of these men view their money as material wealth, but intrinsically
linked to their lovers. Fitzgerald does not put forward the theory that money
brings happiness, or can solve problems, but more often than not, brings more
sadness and joy. This contrasts nicely with the mood of the 1920s which was of
materialism, and also of the 1930s, where lack of money brought unhappiness.

Gatsby and Diver are both seen by their peers as luck men living an ideal life
as socialites, entertaining people endlessly, blessed with great fortunes
(lucky Dick, you big stiff). What more could they wish for? They lived in
big house, socialise and provide for others, and appear to enjoy their lives,
but do they? Their idealised lives seem, to them, vacant and directionless, a
never-ending stream of parties and faces. For Gatsby, his life will never be
perfect unless he has Daisy. For Dick, his life is slightly more complicated,
torn between his desire to be autonomous, his desire to cure Nicole, and his
fear that a cured Nicole will no longer need him. Dicks desire to control
others is representative of his desire for order which is shown by his voice
that promised that he would take care of her Rosemary, and she also saw
him as a model of correctness. Dick also provided a structure for Nicole
to put her faith in, and therefore get better. Dicks faith in form and order
comes from another time, and does not fit in with the anarchy and chaos of a
rapidly evolving America. It does not hold with the sense of the disintegration
of society which Fitzgerald saw happen before his eyes. Instead, he is the
last hope of a decaying clan and the exact furthermost evolution of a
class a man who is eventually destroyed by not being able to keep up with
the times. Gatsby also has a relationship with the idea of order. He had,
according to Nick, one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal
reassurance in it. Gatsby wished to find in Daisy some idea of himself
with which to counter a life which had become confused and disordered.

Order and chaos pervade The Great Gatsby, with Nick declaring his belief
that codes of conduct are needed to control human behaviour. He wishes for the
world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever, and
Gatsby also seems to be lost in the world of parties he has created, and not
quite in control, despite his efforts. Gatsby does not need to control his
parties, but he does his life, which he has desperately tried to map out in his
own way, despite what others may say (Nick saying, You cant repeat the
past! to which Gatsby replies, Why of course you can!). Both Gatsby and
Divers need and belief in order is in contrast to the company they keep, such
as, in Dicks case, Mary Minghetti (North) and Lady Caroline Sibley-Biers, and
in Gatsbys case, the parties he throws. Notably, it is not their actual
desired company, but the company they are associated with through friends or
events. Gatsby searches for Daisy in these parties, not ladies who fall in the
pool, and Dick was friendly with Mary whilst she was married to Abe, but not
while she consorted with Lady Caroline. However, Mary turns to Dick, bringer of
order to chaos, to sort out their problems when they are arrested. It is
interesting to see that while Dicks downfall becomes more and more apparent,
his acquaintances become more and more wild, highlighting the disintegration of
both society and Dick, and that Dicks demise must be linked to his inability
to adapt to this anarchic and chaotic mood. Gatsby and Diver are great
entertainers of their peers. Diver seems to thrive on the company of others, of
controlling social situations perfectly and, and the peak of his social climb,
people clamour to be with the Divers. Dick, according to Mary, could keep a
party moving just by a little sentence or a saying here and there. He could
make people enjoy themselves and each other, almost effortlessly, and because of
this, people remember him (Its one of the finest memories in my life
the most civilised gather of people that I have ever known Royal Dumphrey).

His parties were always memorable, though it is questionable whether they were
civilised. One of the earliest scenes in Tender is the Night is the party
which ends in a duel, and whilst in Paris Rosemary notes that she can now say
that she has been to a wild party. However, it is only after the departure of
the Divers is when these parties degenerate into disorder and chaos, underlining
the idea that Dick is a bringer of order. To please other people seems to please
Dick, but it also wore him out (one of his most characteristic moods was upon
him, the excitement that swept everyone up into it and was inevitably followed
by his own form of melancholy). Rosemary is one character within the novel
who is particularly enchanted with the Divers, especially Dick. She constantly
tells her Mother, who is also her chief confidante, how Perfect the Divers
are, and Tommy protects them from rumours by telling Mrs McKisco that it is
inadvisable to comment on what goes on in his house. Tommy seems to be the
only character willing to protect the Divers, especially Nicole. Despite their
fantastic social life, the Divers seem to end up friendless in their own lives,
on the outside than the leaders of the inside social circle that they once were.

Gatsby is also seen as a great socialite, but on a different level. Where the
Divers were masters of smaller, personal parties, Gatsby regularly threw wild
extravagant revels. However, Dick and Nicole were the obvious and open hosts,
Gatsby remained elusive, and almost none of his guests could actually recognise
him. Instead, he was the hidden host, observer of the gaiety that he provided,
forever on the lookout for something, someone. Gatsbys past is shrouded in
mystery – some think that he is a German spy, others that he has killed a man.

However, Gatsby does not entertain for the sake of it, he takes no real joy in
the proceedings. Instead, it is a mechanism to find Daisy, the driving force of
almost everything he does. In the spirit of entertainers, Diver and Gatsby are
only linked by the happiness they bring others through their parties, and the
fact that despite their social appearance, they both lead lonely, almost
friendless lives. Gatsby and Diver are both intensive socialites, even if in a
kind of reclusive manner, and certainly in Dicks case, the excessive like
leads to his demise through, among other reasons, alcoholism. There are also
other mentions of ridiculous behaviour which went on at Gatsbys parties, but
it would be unfair to say that in these two novels Fitzgerald was simply writing
cautionary tales concerning the risks of excessive alcohol and socialising.

Although Fitzgerald was passing judgement on the times in which he lived, he was
writing about more than alcohol and the ridiculous critics often associated with
it. Divers and Gatsbys demise has more to do with a loss of control and
broken dreams than too many parties. Dreams, hope and romance play key parts in
the personalities of both Gatsby and Diver. Gatsby possessed an extraordinary
gift for hope, and Fitzgerald seems to feel that this is what set him apart
from his society. Gatsby has ideals. He had a dream which he not only desired,
but did so so strongly that he based his entire life around life. Obviously
Daisy is the immediate goal, but according to Nick, Gatsbys dreams and
aspirations had gone beyond her, beyond everything. Daisy, Nick says,
wouldnt satisfy Gatsby he knew that when he kissed this girl, and
forever wed this unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would
never romp again like the mind of God. Gatsby is constantly dreaming, but
more than dreaming, he is actively striving towards something better, be it
Daisy, or something less tangible. This drive separates him from the
laissez-faire attitude of Daisy, tome and Jordan, who seem bored of their
lives and its sophistication. Perhaps it is this dreamer-like quality that
compels Nick to call Gatsby great. Dick also has ambition and drive, but
somehow goes wayward, and does not achieve greatness. Dick is intelligent
and he was seen by many as a brilliant psychologist, but becomes entangled with
a love affair with a patient, Nicole, that effectively ends his career. Dick
strives to heal Nicole, but this dream traps Dick, and then the success of his
work to strengthen her actually underlines his own personal demise. Dicks
hopes are not as clear-cut as Gatsbys, but the base ideals of most are within
him, if hidden and corrupted by society (he used to think that he wanted to
be good, he wanted to be kind, he wanted to be brave and wise, but it was all
pretty difficult. He wanted to be loved, too, if he could fit in.). It is
interesting that Dick sees himself as an outsider to society, and that he, like
everyone else wants love and care, as if he doesnt feel loved by Nicole. This
quotation also marks Dicks attitude of not being quite good enough by his own
standards, and the fact that he doesnt feel strongly enough to work it out is
in contrast to Gatsby who will do anything for his dream. However, like Gatsby,
Diver is a romantic (the silver cord is cut and the golden bowl is broken and
all that, but an old romantic like me cant do anything about it), in
contrast to his peers and society. Of the two men, Gatsby is definitely the most
idealistic, and this represents the optimism of his time, with Diver not having
the same naive gift of hope. Gatsby and Diver are alike in their romanticism and
ideals, and then demise represents the futility of ideals in an increasingly
corrupt and materialistic society. Gatsbys dream is to be with Daisy, to
marry her and spend the rest of their lives together. He obviously loves her a
great deal, and his love is what drives him. For many, The Great Gatsby
can be seen as a tragic love story. However, when Gatsby imagines his life with
Daisy he knew before the war. Since then, both Gatsby and Daisy have changed,
and in Gatsbys mind, Daisy has been transformed into an ideal woman, an ideal
which, through no fault of her own, cannot live up to. However, Daisy has been
claimed by another, and although she may still love Gatsby, it is not as simple
as Gatsby seems to think. The limitation Gatsbys attitude to Daisy can be
shown in the manner he acts towards Tom, and the forthright way in which he
tells Tom that Daisys leaving you. He is the dominant one in their
relationship, but he is also childish and naïve to suggest that Daisy
never loved Tom. It is this idea, which taints her attitude toward him, and
opens up the vulnerability which Tom is able to attack, namely the mystery
surrounding Gatsbys past. By bringing up Gatsbys business, Tom is able to
expose this weakness, and thus have him lose Daisy. Gatsby knows the effect of
these revelations namely in the way he looked as if he had killed a
man. She herself was drawing further and further into herself.

Gatsbys dream has crashed, and this is a critical turning point, namely the
beginning of the very swift downfall, the drive toward death. Gatsby
places absolute importance on his love and possible relationship with Daisy.

Although Diver never really seems to express the same obvious undying love for
Nicole that Gatsby appears to feel for Daisy, his demise also begins with the
breaking down of his already dysfunctional relationship. In the way that Gatsby
had created Daisy in his mind, Dick created Nicole as her psychologist, and he
delights in her progress. However, she is his creation, and the signs that he is
losing control of his creation help send him spiralling downward. The stronger
Nicole grows, the less she needs Dick, and eventually she leaves. Although this
seems negative, the Divers relationship was never balanced, Dick controlled
Nicoles mind through his psychology, and Nicole controlled his life through
her money. Nicole owned Dick, who did not want to be owned, and this
control gave a very disturbing edge to their relationship. A possibly even more
disturbing element of Dick and Nicoles marriage are the two roles he plays
husband and healer. The dualism of his views of hers that of the
husband, that of the psychiatrist was increasingly paralysing his
faculties. Dick, once so brilliant at playing either of those roles (he was
known as a brilliant psychiatrist) now cannot apply either to Nicoles
situation, and neither his love not his academia can help her. She has worn him
down too much, and there is a definite element of truth when she says, some
of the time I think its my fault Ive ruined you. It is interesting
to note that Dick, a brilliant psychiatrist, does choose Nicole, a patient.

There is her obvious beauty and charm, but Dick realises the complications of
the situation. Why does he let himself marry Nicole, a marriage in which the
difficulty of his role is clear? The answer must reside in Dicks innate love
of order, and his need to be in control of situations, whether they are parties,
patients, or even his own marriage. The terrible irony is that Dick does not
control Nicole, but Nicole Dick, with her illness which he has to tend, and her
money which he needs. Both Dick and Gatsbys tragic endings are closely linked
to their failed love. Neither Gatsby nor Dick manage to survive in the world
that Fitzgerald has portrayed. Both also lose their dignity to some extent,
Gatsby by being found lying in a swimming pool, and then by an unattended
funeral; Dick by fading into the obscurity of a GP in New York State, never
managing to settle in one place. Which of these two endings seems to have more
dignity? Gatsbys final ending is undignified, being in a swimming pool his
house being defaces, but this is short term, and Fitzgerald does not let this be
our last picture of Gatsby, instead ending with the epic vision of the future,
of boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. Gatsby
does not leave friends behind, he leaves a legacy (One of the taxi drivers in
the village never took a fare past the entrance gate without stopping for a
minute and pointing inside), and an impact on Nick Carraway that was so great
that he was compelled to write about him. Gatsby also dies spiritually intact
(his dream must have been so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it).

He knew that he had lost Daisy, but he probably did not know the true extent of
his loss, with his apparently unending capacity for hope. Gatsbys death was
the result of a revenge for the death of Myrtille Wilson, but it was Daisy who
killed her, not Gatsby. The extent of his love for Daisy results in his death,
and he dies with his dream. Diver does not die, but is almost buried alive. He
loses his wife, therefore his money, and also his reputation. He leaves behind
his existence on the Riviera to forge ahead on his own. It appears that Tommy
forces Diver out, but before Tommy suggested anything to Dick, it is evident
that this relationship with Nicole was over. The case was finished. Doctor
Diver was at liberty. This is the culmination of a social fall from the very
peak of society to being mocked, and being seen as a dissipated doctor who
is not received anywhere anymore. Divers social fall should be compared
to Gatsbys as to see which is the more dignified and heroic. One key part is
the element of control. Gatsby did not have control of the car which killed Mrs
Wilson and he did not have control of Mr Wilson, who shot him. Therefore one can
suggest that of the forces which led to Gatsbys demise, Gatsby played a
passive role, and events were to blame, and not him. Of course, he should not
have let Daisy drive, but how could he have known what was to follow? The timing
of Gatsbys demise is also important it all takes place within twenty four
hours from Daisy telling Gatsby that she did love Tom, and Tom revealing
Gatsbys past, to Mr Wilson shooting Gatsby. This short space of time leads
even more to the idea that Gatsby cannot be held responsible for his death, but
to a certain extent, Dick can be held responsible for his demise. It is apparent
from the end of Book Two in Tender is the Night, when Dick hears of his
fathers death, that he is losing control of himself and events. He meets
Rosemary and the McKiscos on the ship, and Rosemary says, oh, such a shame.

Whats it all about anyhow? Why bring it to me? to which Diver replies,
I guess Im the Black Death. I dont seem to bring people happiness
anymore. This conversation shows how even Dick himself is aware of his fading
talents, but there is a sense of confusion within Dick, that he doesnt even
know what to do about it. Dick is finally being tested, and failing. One of
Dicks main problems is his alcohol intake, which becomes more and more
apparent to people, such as Franz Gregory and Tommy, who says that Dick is not a
person who should drink. Dicks drinking began as a social exercise, but grows
and grows until it controls him. As a result of Dicks failures, both
socially, professionally, and with Nicole, Dick drinks more and more, but he
does not feel out of control (Dick blamed himself only for indiscretion).

It is the incident with Morris who accused Dr Diver of drinking whilst on duty
that brings about an end to Dicks psychiatric career, but even after this,
Dick continues to drink excessively whilst with Nicole on the Riviera. Alcohol
is symbolic of a world that Dick cannot control, but still wishes to be a part
of. Society moves on and changes, and Dick cannot keep up. Fitzgerald uses
alcohol as a mechanism that highlights Dicks demise, and its inherent links
with society. Dick turns to drink as he loses faith in himself, Nicole, and
society in general. This loss of faith means that Diver drifts away into
nothing, and fades from view. Our last image of him is in the distance, out of
focus, fading into nothing. He has gone from being at the height of social order
to a social drop out in a society where money, alcohol and social excess are the
norm, but where he cannot keep up. Gatsby and Diver live in fast moving, chaotic
societies, where morals are bent and ideal broken. Fitzgerald has not created in
either man an obvious hero, as both men are presented as having many faults, but
I think that it is fair to say that they are heroes, despite their
drawbacks. They are both romantics in an unromantic world. Both these characters
are seen as old fashioned in a swiftly changing America. However, Fitzgerald
seems to applaud these characteristics, by portraying the other characters in a
more negative light. The only other character with these novels who could be
seen as heroic is Nick Carraway, and some see him, and not Gatsby, as the hero
of his novel. However, Carraway himself feels that Gatsby is great, mainly
on account of his extraordinary gift for hope. This hope sets Gatsby apart
from everyone else Nick has ever encountered, and despite Gatsby representing
everything which I have an unaffected scorn, this idea of hope remains the
most prominent and absolute. Gatsby cannot be seen as heroic in the traditional
moral sense he made his fortunes from bootlegging, he involves himself with
unscrupulous characters such as Meyer Wolfshiem, and befriends Nick and Jordan
not because he likes them, but on account of their link with Daisy. But despite
all this, and the half-scornful, half-admiring descriptions we receive dorm
Nick, we still believe in Gatsby, and Gatsbys character, because of his
capacity for hope and love. There is also something admirable about the way
Gatsby did progress from being a nobody to a millionaire, epitomising the
American Dream. However, Fitzgerald does not shy away from showing that America
does have classes within society, and Gatsby, despite his newfound riches, will
never be able to become a part of the society in which he lives. Like Diver, he
finds himself on the outside looking in. Diver, like Gatsby, has heroic
qualities, but he does not have strong enough a character not to be dragged down
by the society in which he lives. Essentially, Diver is a good man. He has a
desire to please others, to help, and to love. These are certainly admirable
qualities. I think that Fitzgerald has created in Tender is the Night a
novel in which the best character, or hero, is dragged down by the force
that society exerts on him. It is the breaking down of a good character to
become a shadow of his formal self. The hero in *censored* struggles against
these changes, but, ultimately, he succumbs. Dick is not as heroic as Gatsby,
and I think that Fitzgerald intended Dick to be seen as lacking compared to
Gatsby, because he lacks the hope that Gatsby has. He sees that he has been
defeated, and doesnt fight as hard as he could to recover himself. However,
this seeming lack of will power could be seen as a measure of just how much
society has taken a toll upon Dicks character. Gatsby can be seen as
great, but Dick, unfortunately for him, falls somewhat short of this
accolade, and instead can be seen as a good man who has been broken. Gatsby,
with all his powers of hope and dreams, can be viewed as an unfortunate man, but
there is also the idea that Gatsby can be perceived as more than a character,
but as a symbol of America. Fitzgerald originally wanted to call the book
Under the Red, White and Blue, bringing in the definitive image of the
American flag. Certainly, Fitzgerald is very concerned with the state of America
within his novel, and I think that Gatsby himself represents American ideals
under a great amount of pressure from changing times. America is said to be a
classless society, yet Fitzgerald shows a world of many class distinctions,
highlighted by the differences between Tom Buchanan and George Wilson. Gatsby
can never be at ease with Tom either, because of the divisions of class between
them, despite living in the New World, where every man is equal. Fitzgerald
realises that despite the U.Ss supposed self-assurance, she still looks East
toward Europe for approval. This is symbolized by the shirts that Gatsby has
imported, and his Rolls Royce, both of which are seen as symbols of quality and
wealth. Post-war America cannot remove the influence that Europe has, and create
her own society. Europe features even more strongly in Tender is the
Night. The Divers live in Switzerland and France, and whilst it is hard to
see whether Dick represents America itself, the novel has an American theme, and
concerns American people and American ideals. Occasionally, the novel mocks the
America abroad, who do not have the same repose that Europeans seem to have, but
Diver himself believes in America (Its American Dick believes in
it). In Tender is the Night Fitzgerald seems to be examining the role
of the American abroad, and he seems to suggest that at this particular moment
in time, Americans are not ready to live in Europe. They have not developed
enough confidence and self-belief to be comfortable once taken out of their own
setting, and frequently become lost or out of control. Europe has a different
way of life from America, and requires different attitudes. Fitzgerald notes
that the American attitude is not compatible with the European way of life. It
is also interesting to note that many psychiatric patients come to Europe to be
cured, a sign that America still looks to Europe for reassurance and care,
despite military success in the war. Although America may be bigger and stronger
that Europe, Europe is still seen as more mature and refined, and the movement
of American culture to Europe only brings chaos and disorder. A strong feature
of American culture is the American Dream, which features strongly in The
Great Gatsby. The American Dream can be seen in two ways that it
represents the limitless possibilities at what America means, and that she is
free from any limits set by past experiences, or that ones self is equated
with ones wealth, and that freedom and possibility come only with money.

Gatsby seems to aspire to both ideas, but it is the belief in the first that
makes him great. Gatsby has tried to recreate himself, and has shedded his
past, in the way that America has tried to shed her European past and influence.

Fitzgerald takes his idea of the tow interpretations of the American Dream, and
presents it in a paradoxical fashion, in that the material success that Gatsby
has achieved means that his belief in the ideal will fail. Presenting America
and the American Dream in this manner demonstrates Fitzgeralds fading belief
in his country and its values. Diver is representative of the middle-class
American becoming rich, and again failing to settle in a society with definite
class divisions. Diver works hard, and is talented, and, subscribing to the
American ideal, he should succeed in life, but he does not. Divers eventual
riches do not come from his hard work, becomes less interested in his job,
thanks to his marriage, and drifts, because he did not believe in the ideal.

Again and again, Fitzgerald underlines the importance of faith and hope, without
which America and the American Dream mean nothing, and it is impossible to
survive without. Diver and Gatsby can both be seen as the failure of the
American Dream, and thus that the America that was supposed to be a place where
everything is possible, where freedom and liberty come above all else, is
failing herself. In Jay Gatsby and Dick Diver F. Scott Fitzgerald has presented
us with tow men who should not fail, who, if there is any justice in the world,
should succeed in what they do. However, they do not. Granted, they are not
perfect, but they are more heroic and noble that the other characters they are
surrounded with. The reason they do not survive is because they are
old-fashioned men, with old fashioned, romantic ideals, and they are destroyed
by the cruelty and superficiality of modern America. Fitzgerald does not paint a
very reassuring picture of his home country, and these two novels display his
personal fears about American society. Tender is the Night and The
Great Gatsby are two novels grasping the mood of the moment, and Gatsby and
Diver are two men who cannot keep up.


English Essays