In "Winter Dreams," why does Dexter lie about his hometown?

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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In Fitzgerald's story, Dexter Green is a young man who comes from limited economic circumstances, works hard, and becomes wealthy. He patterns himself after the wealthy people he had observed as boy, in his dress, for instance, as well as in his manners. Dexter tries hard to remake himself in the image of those he considers glamorous, the social "insiders."

Dexter was born in Keeble, described as a "Minnesota village," fifty miles north of Black Bear Village where he grew up. Dexter always claimed Keeble, rather than Black Bear, because it seemed more socially acceptable. Black Bear Village seemed unacceptable to him because it was filled with those who provided services for the wealthy class who inhabited Sherry Island nearby. Dexter observed about Keeble, "Country towns were well enough to come from if they weren't inconveniently in sight and used as footstools by fashionable lakes."

Dexter claims Keeble because he is ashamed to identify himself with Black Bear Village and those who lived there. Dexter remembers that his mother was a Bohemian peasant who had spoken in broken English all her life. His father owned the second-best grocery store. Dexter claims Keeble instead of Black Bear Village because he seeks to separate himself from the social class into which he was born.




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