F. Scott Fitzgerald uses figurative language such as similes, metaphors, and symbolism in Winter Dreams. As we read, we can make note of the figurative language.
Similes and metaphors are both forms of comparison, but similes use "like" or "as." A metaphor does not use those words, but we know that the simply-stated comparison is not literal. For example, when Fitzgerald writes "turning those big cow eyes on every calf in town," he is comparing the characters to animals. Hedrick says this about Judy, meaning that her eyes are wide open for potential men, because "she always looks as if she wants to be kissed."
Phrases such as "poor as sin" and "poor as a church mouse" are similes that can also be considered idioms, or common sayings. We understand that Fitzgerald is telling us they are very poor.
Fitzgerald also utilizes lists as figurative language:
Summer, fall, winter, spring, another summer, another fall—so much he had given of his active life to the incorrigible lips of Judy Jones. She had treated him with interest, with encouragement, with malice, with indifference, with contempt. . . . She had insulted him, and she had ridden over him, and she had played his interest in her against his interest in his work—for fun. She had done everything to him except criticize him.
In the above passage, Fitzgerald lists the seasons to give us a sense of how enamored Dexter is with Judy. He also lists all the ways Judy has treated Dexter, in order to emphasize her continuous mistreatment and his desire for her in spite of it.
The following passage is an example of the rich imagery Fitzgerald uses:
In the fall when the days became crisp and gray, and the long Minnesota winter shut down like the white lid of a box, Dexter's skis moved over the snow that hid the fairways of the golf course. At these times the country gave him a feeling of profound melancholy—it offended him that the links should lie in enforced fallowness, haunted by ragged sparrows for the long season. It was dreary, too, that on the tees where the gay colors fluttered in summer there were now only the desolate sand-boxes knee-deep in crusted ice. When he crossed the hills the wind blew cold as misery, and if the sun was out he tramped with his eyes squinted up against the hard dimensionless glare.
What literary devices can you identify? How does the passage make you feel? How does Fitzgerald's language help you understand how Dexter feels?
Fitzgerald also uses symbolism in the story, such as the boat, golf balls, and winter.