Tender is the Night

Identity in Tender is the Night 11th Grade


Identity is “the characteristics determining who or what a person or thing is” (Oxford Dictionary). Identity includes one’s sexuality, age, political views, religious beliefs, or anything that shapes who they are. In Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald, identity is a constant theme depicted throughout the life of Dick Diver. Throughout the novel, Diver tries to alter the path he originally set out for himself, in hopes of finding his lost identity. Dick Diver is a social climber bound to self-destruct. His feelings of restriction from familial obligations turn him into a self-proclaimed manque, in search of liveliness. This journey for sanity leads Diver down a dark road of alcoholism, incest, and lack of self-knowledge, ultimately causing him to remain at rock bottom.


In Tender is the Night, Dick Diver’s decisions shape his future and the person he is. Distracted by society’s standards, his family’s standards and his own standard’s, Diver struggles to remain genuine. In a society “where the meaning of personal experience is more and more slipping away from the control of the individual” (Broer), Diver makes some detrimental decisions, leading to his present state. Decisions like picking a college major and who Diver...

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