'Tender is the Night' Quotes

F. Scott Fitzgerald's Controversial Novel

Tender is the Night
Tender is the Night. Simon & Schuster

Tender is the Night is a famous novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The work details the life and deterioration of Dr. Dick Diver, who falls in love with a mental patient. This novel was considered a failure at the time of its publication, but it is one of Fitzgerald's most important works. Here are a few quotes.​

Tender is the Night

  • "a bald man in a monocle and a pair of tights, his tufted chest thrown out, his brash navel sucked in, was regarding her attentively."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 1, Ch. 1
  • "so that while Rosemary was a 'simple' child she was protected by a double sheath of her mother's armor and her own - she had a mature distrust of the trivial, the facile and the vulgar."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 1, Ch. 3
  • "You're the only girl I've seen for a very long time that actually did look like something blooming."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 1, Ch. 4
  • "so green and cool that the leaves and petals were curled with tender damp."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 1, Chapter 6
  • "he opened the gate to his amusing world. So long as they subscribed to it completely, their happiness was his preoccupation, bit at the fist flicker of doubt as to its all-inclusiveness he evaporated before their eyes, leaving little communicable memory of what he had said or done."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 1, Ch. 6
  • "the moment when the guests had been daringly lifted above conviviality into the rarer atmosphere of sentiment, was over before it could be irreverently breathed before they had half realized it was there."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 1, Ch. 7
  • "the too obvious appeal, the struggle with an unrehearsed scene and unfamiliar words."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 1, Ch. 8
  • "of course it's done at a certain sacrifice - sometimes they seem just rather charming figures in a ballet, and worth the attention you five a ballet, but it's more than that - you'd have to know the story. Anyhow Tommy is one of those men that Dick's passed along to Nicole." Book 1,
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Ch. 10
  • "She illustrated very simple principles, containing in herself her own doom, but illustrated them so accurately that there was grace in the procedure, and presently Rosemary would try to imitate it."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 1, Ch. 12
  • "Indeed, he had made a quick study of the whole affair, simplifying it always until it bore a faint resemblance to one of his own parties."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 1, Ch. 13
  • "He knew that there was passion there, but there was no shadow of it in her eyes or on her mouth; there was a faint spray of champagne on her breath. She clung nearer desperately and once more he kissed her and was chilled by the innocence of her kiss, by the glance that at the moment of contact looked beyond him out into the darkness of the night, the darkness of the world."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 1, Ch. 15
  • "The enthusiasm, the selflessness behind the whole performance ravished her, the technic of moving many varied types, each as immobile, as dependent on supplies of attention as an infantry battalion as dependent on rations, appeared so effortless that he still had pieces of his own most personal self for everyone."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 1, Ch. 18
  • "the shots had entered into all their lives: echoes of violence followed them out onto the pavement where two porters held a post-mortem beside them as they waited for a taxi."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 1, Ch. 19
  • "made an exit that she had learned young, and on which no director had ever tried to improve."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 1, Ch. 25
  • "And Lucky Dick can't be one of those clever men; he must be less intact, even faintly destroyed. If life won't do it for him it's not a substitute to get a disease, or a broken heart, or an inferiority complex, though it'd be nice to build out some broken side till it was better than the original structure."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 2, Ch. 1
  • "They said that you are a doctor, but so long as you are a cat it is different. My head aches so, so excuse this walking there like an ordinary with a white cat will explain, I think."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 2, Ch. 2
  • "I am slowly coming back to life... I wish someone were in love with me like boys were ages ago before I was sick. I suppose it will be years, though, before I could think of anything like that."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 2, Ch. 2
  • "We were just like lovers--and then all at once we were lovers--and ten minutes after it happened I could have shot myself--except I guess I'm such a Goddamned degenerate I didn't have the nerve to do it." Book 2, Ch. 3
  • "God, am I like the rest after all?"
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 2, Ch. 4
  • "The weakness of the profession is its attraction for the man a little crippled and broken."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 2, Ch. 6
  • "Nicole's world had fallen to pieces, but it was only a flimsy and scarcely created world."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 2, Ch. 7
  • "the delight on Nicole's face--to be a feather again instead of a plummet, to float and not to drag."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 2, Ch. 8
  • "And if I don't know you're the most attractive man I ever met you must think I am still crazy."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 2
  • "It's my hard luck, all right--but don't pretend that I don't know--I know everything about you and me."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 2, Ch. 9
  • "As an indifference cherished, or left to atrophy, becomes an emptiness, to this extent he had learned to become empty of Nicole, serving her against his will with negations and emotional neglect."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 2, Ch. 11

Here are more quotes from Tender is the Night, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

  • "We own you, and you'll admit it sooner or later. It is absurd to keep up the pretense of independence."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 2, Ch. 13

  • "Good manners are an admission that everybody is so tender that they have to be handled with gloves. Now, human respect--you don't call a man a coward or a liar lightly, but if you spend your life sparing people's feelings and feeding their vanity, you get so you can't distinguish what should be respected in them."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 2, Ch. 13

  • "England was like a rich man after a disastrous orgy who makes up to the household by chatting with them individually, when it is obvious to them that he is only trying to get back his self-respect in order to usurp his former power."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 2, Ch. 16

  • "Good-by, my father--good-by, all my fathers."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 2, Ch. 19

  • "she only cherishes her illness as an instrument of power."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 3, Ch. 1

  • "There was some element of loneliness involved--so easy to be loved--so hard to love."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 3, Ch. 2

  • "to explain, to patch--these were not natural functions at their age--better to continue with the cracked echo of an old truth in the ears."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 3, Ch. 2

  • "Not without desperation he had long felt the ethics of his profession dissolving into a lifeless mass."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 3, Ch. 3

  • "If Europe ever goes Bolshevik she'll turn up as the bride of Stalin."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 3, Ch. 4

  • "We can't go on like this--or can we?....What do you think?... Some of the time I think its my fault--I've ruined you."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 3, Ch. 5

  • "She was somewhat shocked at the idea of being interested in another man--but other women have lovers--why not me?"
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 3, Ch. 6

  • "If she need not, in her spirit, be forever one with Dick as he had appeared last night, she must be something in addition, not just an image on his mind, condemned to endless parades around the circumference of a medal."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 3, Ch. 6

  • "So delicately balanced was she between an old foothold that had always guaranteed her security, and the imminence of a leap from which she might alight changed in the very chemistry of blood and muscle, that she did not dare bring the matter into the true forefront of consciousness."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 3, Ch. 7

  • "He's not received anywhere anymore."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 3, Ch. 7
  • "Either you think--or else others have to think for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 3, Ch. 7

  • "No, I'm not really--I'm just a--I'm just a whole lot of different simple people."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 3, Ch. 8

  • "Everything Tommy said became part of her forever."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 3, Ch. 8

  • "Tangled with love in the moonlight she welcomed the anarchy of her lover."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 3, Ch. 8

  • "Then why did you come, Nicole? I can't do anything for you anymore. I'm trying to save myself."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 3, Ch. 9

  • "I have never seen women like this sort of women. I have known many of the great courtesans of the world, and for them I have much respect often, but women like these women I have never seen before."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 3, Ch. 10

  • "You don't understand Nicole. You treat her always as a patient because she was once sick."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 3, Ch. 11

  • "When people are taken out of their depths they lose their heads, no matter how charming a bluff they put up."
    - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, Book 3, Ch. 12