Discuss the color symbolism in "Winter Dreams."

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "Winter Dreams," color motifs play an important role in communicating Fitzgerald's themes. White is associated with wealth. When Dexter first meets Judy, she appears on the golf course with a "white linen nurse" who carries Judy's clubs in a "white canvas bag." Judy lives on Sherry Island in her father's huge white mansion. Fitzgerald describes it as a "great white bulk" of a house and emphasizes its whiteness by further describing it as "somnolent, gorgeous, drenched with the splendor of the damp moonlight."

Judy herself is most closely associated with gold and pink. When Dexter meets Judy again on the golf course, years after their first meeting when she was a child, Judy's face is flushed with a "feverish warmth." When Dexter meets her again on the lake, she wears pink rompers. At various times, her pink or crimson lips are noted. When Dexter meets her months later at a dance, Judy is "a slender enameled doll in cloth of gold." She also wears a gold headband and wears gold slippers. Her face glows.

At the story's conclusion, as Dexter loses even the memory of Judy, he stands at a window and watches the sun sink "in dull lovely shades of pink and gold." For him, Judy no longer exists in the world in any way. Judy's memory is replaced by reality: "[T]he sun was gone down, and there was no beauty but the gray beauty of steel . . . ." For Dexter, who has lived in his winter dreams from childhood, reality is gray: hard, cold, and colorless.