Both Gatsby and Tender are marked by the international trauma of the First World War; in Gatsby, Gatsby and Nick are veterans of that war and in Tender, Dick, Abe North (also a veteran) and Rosemary visit a Somme battlefield. The novels are also marked by physical and psychological trauma as it impacts on individuals: physically, there is the breaking of Myrtle’s nose by Tom Buchanan in Gatsby and the breaking of Dick’s nose and rib by the Italian police in Tender; the shooting of Jules Peterson and the beating to death of Abe North in Tender; the mutilation and death of Myrtle in Gatsby when Gatsby’s car, driven by Daisy, hits her; and the murder of Gatsby and the suicide of Wilson in Gatsby. Psychologically, Gatsby shows the title character’s despair (as Nick imagines it) after his loss of Daisy, and the grief of Wilson after Myrtle’s death and of Nick after Gatsby’s death; while Tender depicts the reawakening of Nicole’s memories of her father’s incestuous rape by the bloodied bedclothes she sees after Peterson’s murder, and Dick’s final knowledge that he has lost Nicole.
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