Are readers expected to feel sorry for Judy and Dexter? Explain the ways in which the story inspires sympathy for the two main characters.  

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Fitzgerald's stories often portray young men in love with women who are beautiful, unusual, and unattainable. They are not unattainable because they are not interested in romance; in fact the opposite is true, these young women tend to want to explore romantic dalliances with a variety of men, keeping most of them at arm's length. Judy Jones is one of these young women. She understands the power she has over young men and manipulates them by showing them just enough affection and attention to keep them interested, while she holds them at arm's length emotionally.

Dexter falls in love with her when the two of them are still quite young, and he allows himself to be manipulated by her for years. It is easy to feel sorry for Dexter because he seems to be wasting his time, letting the years go by in a kind of haze, waiting for Judy to feel as strongly for him as he does for her. Despite convincing himself he does not really want to be with someone who uses him as Judy does, deep down he knows he'd drop everything to be with her. He even allows Judy to seduce him away from his fiancé, Irene. Dexter is portrayed as somewhat foolish but also hopelessly romantic.

Judy, on the other hand, is not as easy to feel sympathy for. She treats men badly, taking advantage of them for her own amusement and ego gratification. Even when she tells Dexter she wants to marry him, she is merely playacting for attention, bored with the constant flurry of boyfriends to express her loneliness and boredom, knowing Dexter will satisfy her whims and do as she asks. But when the last scene reveals, by way of an acquaintance of Judy's husband, that Judy's beauty and vitality have faded, and that she has married a man who does not treat her like royalty, we can identify with Dexter's shock and even with his sadness. 

 

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