Tender is the Night

to what extent does baby warren in control of her sisters life?


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The first and least discussed strong female character is Baby Warren. In Tiffany Joseph’s article, "Non-Combatant's Shell-Shock": Trauma and Gender in F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender Is the Night” the comment is made that “power and communication rarely exist for women in” this work. While this is not quite true, she does acknowledge that Baby Warren is the exception. For the first part, one would need to acknowledge that Baby’s real name is Beth and she is the older sister of Nicole, but for some reason the nickname of Baby has stuck to her. This nickname is misleading because Baby Warren does not have a soft exterior, but a type of masculine and financial power that all seem to sense (Toles 424). She is no nonsense and goes for what she wants, and does not take no for an answer.

This power is even more obvious when she tries to buy, and eventually does buy, Dick Diver to care for her sister, Nicole (Fitzgerald 160). This protection is also a way to make it so that she, Baby, does not have to take responsibility for the care of her sister. This is a male gesture in that the caring for a child is the mother’s or woman’s work. She states, “I don’t mind the responsibility…but I’m in the air” (Fitzgerald 159). This understanding of an unwanted burden is revisited when Franz entices Dick to purchase a clinic with him. Of course, Dick does not have the money, but Baby and Nicole do (Nowlin 67). When Baby hears of the possible purchase her first thought is “that if Nicole lived beside a clinic” Baby would have even less to worry about (Fitzgerald 182). Through the use of money, Baby relinquishes all responsibility of Nicole to Dick and really to the clinic, and knows that her sister is safe. She has struck deals and in a sense is proven herself to be “economically” a male rather than a female (Fitzgerald 52).