Dick Diver shares a solid relationship with his admirable father who made every attempt to guide his life as a youth so he would become a good man and a good father. After the burial of his highly principled father, when Dick grieves saying “good by, my father–good-by, all my fathers” he is in essence saying goodbye to the self he might have been, the person of whom his father would have been proud (205). And although he could, at this point in his life, have pulled back from the increasing decadent life he had been living and become a good father himself by fallowing the example of his own father, he continues to gravitate instead toward a life of excess and degradation.
Destructive father figures abound in Tender is the Night. Nicole’s father Devereux Warren molests her when she is fifteen and she plunges into madness. Dick, in effect, takes the place of Nicole’s father whose real father has been forbidden to ever see her again. In a manner Dick duplicates the father/daughter relationship with the teenage Rosemary viewing her both as a child and as a lover. Similarly, Dick’s own relationship with his daughter, whom he compares to Nicole, becomes unnatural by the end of the novel.
Alcohol acts as a predictor of destruction in the characters Abe North and Dick Diver. Continuous drinking has resulted in Abe North’s social, emotional and physical decline. Once a successful musician, in Paris he sits disheveled and seedy at the train station hiding his trembling hands in his pocket. His alcohol-induced fog causes him to identify the wrong man as the thief who stole his thousand -franc note and set the murder in motion. He remains in the Ritz bar while an innocent man languishes in prison, because his drinking makes him helpless to take action. Ultimately, he winds up brutally murdered in a New York bar called a speakeasy that sold alcohol during Prohibition.
Whereas earlier in the novel, Diver drank little, his seduction into the Jazz Age life is well-lubricated by copious amounts of alcohol. He begins drinking in earnest after he finds himself attracted to the teenage Rosemary and his drinking escalates until he winds up drunk and beaten on the floor of an Italian jail, thrown out of his own clinic for drinking too much, and so on until he loses his wife and children and sinks into obscurity in an unnamed New York town.