What does "Winter Dreams" say about the American Dream?

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The story problematizes whatever it is we mean by the phrase “American dream.” In a conventional sense, Dexter’s story, of rising from the son of immigrants to the wealthy owner of a string of laundries, is the sort of “rags-to-riches” theme we usually mean when we talk about the American dream. But Fitzgerald makes clear that what Dexter dreams of is not wealth, nor is it even Judy. Dexter realizes that he can never have Judy. There is something about his desire for her that makes her inaccessible. And Judy, for her part, is keenly aware of her beauty, her physicality, and doesn’t seem to regret her lack of deeper feeling. Dexter and Judy’s story is not a love story in any sense; neither one of them can really “love,” and the closest Dexter comes to it is at the end of the story, when he learns of Judy’s marriage and realizes that “something was in me, and now that thing is gone.” The cliche of the American dream, along with the cliche of Dexter’s infatuation...

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