Hysterical Fantasy in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night

Thi Huong Giang Bui

Abstract


Through many years, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night has remained a novel worthy of reading and analyzing for various reasons. It can be clearly seen that Fitzgerald found a way to give it a symmetry that is not usually found in long psychological novels. Having conceived a new, modernist structure and adopted a third person limited omniscient point of view, Fitzgerald shows us the process of collapse until Diver has nothing left in his life; his marriage and his friendships are all destroyed. With the aim of bringing out a new way of reading Tender is the Night, this paper investigates the reasons for Dick Diver’s downfall, dealing with both professional career and personal life using the framework of Freudian theory and in particular the concept of hysterical fantasy. It is then further suggested that Diver’s fantasy derives from the trauma in his childhood with the loss of his father. According to Freud’s dynamic view, hysterical fantasy in men relates to either hidden sexual desire or ambitions in life. Considering Freud’s concepts in regard to the protagonist’s case, the present paper argues that Dick Diver’s failure resulted from both his hidden sexual desires and his excessive ambition in his professional career.

Key words: Freud; Fantasy; Downfall; Trauma; Loss


Keywords


Freud; Fantasy; Downfall; Trauma; Loss

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968%2Fj.sll.1923156320120502.688

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