What is the significance of the title of F. Scott Fitzgerald's story "Winter Dreams?"
Dexter Green, the protagonist of "Winter Dreams" by F. Scott Fitzgerald, has incredible dreams during the winter about his life plans. While he is young, he works as a caddy, and, during the winter, he spends his life on the snow-filled golf links with "fleeting brilliant impressions of the summer." Though the winter is dreary, he has glittering dreams when it's cold out. When he is young, he dreams of becoming a golf champion. As he gets older, the content of his dreams changes, but "the stuff of them remained." For example, he decides to go to a prestigious eastern university rather than attend a business course at the state college, even though he doesn't really have the money to go away to college.
Later, his dreams focus on winning over Judy Jones, a petulant girl who never settles for any one boyfriend. As Fitzgerald writes, "She was not a girl who could be 'won' in the kinetic sense--she was proof against cleverness, she was proof against charm." Dexter throws over his nice, dependable, solid girlfriend with whom he's about to be engaged for a summer month with Judy, after which time she leaves him and marries someone else. In the winter, he realizes that his life with Judy has been a folly. Eventually, Judy marries a brute, and her beauty fades. Her beautiful young self, like Dexter's hope to marry her, is only a dream. During the winter, Dexter concocts dreams of summer that he can never achieve. These are hopeful thoughts that do not actually come true when summer arrives.
The title Winter Dreams suggests that there is something wrong with the dreams, they are associated with this season of cold and death and darkness and by the end of the story the reason becomes clear.
Time and again Dexter finds ways to pursue his dreams even as they change and even as he suffers some disappointments and overcomes some obstacles.
But at the end of the story when he learns of the fallen nature of Judy that she has accepted poor treatment and apparently lost her beauty, his dream becomes cold and empty and dark to him despite the fact that the rest of his life has gone rather well.