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Why does Dexter quit his job in "Winter Dreams"?

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lizzie-a-21 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 20, 2009 at 10:15 AM via web

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Why does Dexter quit his job in "Winter Dreams"?

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troutmiller | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted January 21, 2009 at 2:16 AM (Answer #1)

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In the beginning, Dexter quits his job as a caddy because of Judy.  While he works at the golf course, he is proud of moving up to being the most sought after caddy of the place.  He is not there to make a living.  His earnings are merely pocket change for him, as his father is a wealthy businessman.  He dreams of success, even as a teenager.  He dreams of becoming a golf champion and showing up all of the golfers there at the course.  However, that pride is quickly wounded when the eleven-year-old Judy Jones comes to play at the golf course.  He quits his job at this point.  She treats him as an inferior.  That makes him want to be even more successful than he originally planned. His aspirations for a successful future slowly come to include Judy as his potential wife.  He wants all of the "glitter," "glamour," and "promise" that she could offer him with his wealth.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 17, 2015 at 11:56 PM (Answer #2)

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So much of people's lives are spent measuring themselves against others. In Part I of "Winter Dreams," Dexter waits in the caddy-shack on the orders of Mr. McKenna who tells him to wait until the caddy master has returned. While he is waiting, a nurse and her ward, an eleven-year-old girl, the daughter of Mr. Mortimer Jones, have come so that the child can play golf. When Dexter refuses to caddy for them because he must attend the shop, and he informs them that there are no other caddies available, Miss Jones and the nurse go outside, where the girl slams her club on the ground with violence and an argument ensues between the child and her nurse. 

As soon as the nurse sees the caddy-master she inquires if someone cannot now caddy for them.

"Well?" The caddy-master turned to Dexter. "....Go pick up the young lady's clubs."
"I don't think I'll go out to-day," said Dexter.
"You don't----"
"I think I'll quit."

Although "the enormity of the decision frightened him as the thirty dollars a month he earned was not available anywhere else nearby, " Dexter is changed, and he feels he must react: 

"...he had received a strong emotional shock, and his perturbation required a violent and immediate outlet."

This is the first of what Fitzgerald calls Dexter's "winter dreams," his dreams of being rich and having the privileges attached to this wealth. Little Judy Jones's actions have given Dexter a new direction in life in the illusions of his youth for which he will later suffer as he has become enamored of her and lets her represent all that he thinks he wants.

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