What is relevant about Judy's function in Winter Dreams?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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As with so much in Fitzgerald's work, Judy's function is complex.  On one hand, her function is to represent Dexter's love interest.  This is not merely the love interest he has with one other person, but rather the love interest he has with a particular life, a way of living.  Judy's function in this light is to operate as a portal through which Dexter can fully embrace the aspects of his being he covets and desires.  The world of wealth, inaccessibility, and ultimate class are what Judy represents and what Dexter desire.  At the same time, Judy's beauty and her manner help to represent to Dexter the function of what it means to represent an ideal, a form through which his life is geared.  Judy's function is to represent these "Winter Dreams," the envisioning of a life that is not like his.  It is something rooted out of a personal desire to achieve that which is almost unattainable.  Simultaneously, Judy's function is to represent the hollowness in such a pursuit.  There is nothing substantive about Judy's representation and Dexter's desire for it.  Part of the reason the ending is so powerful is that it reveals the emptiness in such pursuits, the hollowness that is shared by both Dexter and Judy.  In this, Judy represents the function of reminder that there is a fundamental hollowness in the pursuit of "Winter Dreams."  In this light, Judy functions as the ultimate cautionary tale.

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