In "Winter Dreams ," Dexter longs to obtain the favor of a girl named Judy Jones. But in every meeting and every opportunity with her, she seems to draw him just close enough—and then run in a different direction. Judy has a hypnotic effect on Dexter, creating a wistful...
In "Winter Dreams," Dexter longs to obtain the favor of a girl named Judy Jones. But in every meeting and every opportunity with her, she seems to draw him just close enough—and then run in a different direction. Judy has a hypnotic effect on Dexter, creating a wistful tone in the story as he chases her for years:
There was a pause. Then she smiled and the corners of her mouth drooped and an almost imperceptible sway brought her closer to him, looking up into his eyes. A lump rose in Dexter's throat, and he waited breathless for the experiment, facing the unpredictable compound that would form mysteriously from the elements of their lips. Then he saw—she communicated her excitement to him, lavishly, deeply, with kisses that were not a promise but a fulfillment. They aroused in him not hunger demanding renewal but surfeit that would demand more surfeit . . . kisses that were like charity, creating want by holding back
nothing at all.
It did not take him many hours to decide that he had wanted Judy Jones ever since he was a proud, desirous little boy.
But Judy does hold back in the end. She shares her affections with many young men in town, and then she drops them all every time new guy moves in. Dexter waits for her, always hoping for a more solid commitment, but this is not something Judy is willing to give. She comes in and out of his life for years, at one point convincing him to break up with his fiancée so that they can be together. Not surprisingly, it doesn't last. There is an understanding that Judy is forever an ideal that is out of Dexter's grasp, but he wistfully holds on to the idea of her until the very end of the story.
The mood, therefore, is gloomy. Time after time, Dexter allows himself to be used and discarded by Judy. He lets a hope for happily ever after with Irene slip between his fingers when Judy returns once more. And in the end, all of his waiting amounts to nothing when he realizes that Judy has married someone else and has even lost her youthful beauty and the charms that he so admired. He has spent his youth chasing a dream that could not be obtained, and Fitzgerald ends the story on a hopeless note: "Now that thing is gone, that thing is gone. I cannot cry. I cannot care. That thing will come back no more." The story shows disillusionment and the futility of chasing dreams.