Winter Dreams, Great Gatsby, and Parallels
Why exactly is this story called Winter Dreams? I'm trying to
find parallels between The Great Gatsby and Winter
Dreams, and while both deal with the American Dream, I don't
understand why Dexter's dreams are called Winter
In Part I of the story, Fitzgerld discusses Dexter's emotions in
terms of the seasons in which he feels them. When November comes
and winter begins, Dexter loses himself in romantic imaginary
adventures; these are his winter dreams.
He becomes a golf champion (not a caddy) who beats Mr. T.A.
Hedrick in a golf match. In Dexter's imagination, sometimes he
beats Hedrick easily; sometimes he "came up magnificently from
behind." In another of his winter dreams, he steps out of an
expensive car in front of the Sherry Island Golf Club and strolls
"frigidly" inside. (Caddies are hired help; they would not
socialize in the Sherry Island Golf Club.) Significantly, Mr.
Mortimer Jones, Judy Jones' wealthy father, also owns a Pierce
Arrow. In Dexter's final romantic dream, he performs some fancy
diving from the club raft while others watch him in "open-mouthed"
wonder, including Mr. Mortimer Jones. (Caddies would not swim
with the club members.)
Dexter's winter dreams are romantic dreams in which he is a
Sherry Island Golf Club insider, a member of the wealthy social
class to which he does not belong. Dexter leads a middle class
life. His father owns a grocery store which is not even the best
one. Dexter longs for a lifestyle he can only observe from the
outside. In Dexter's dreams, he is the hero, the winner, one who is
Instead of growing up and growing out of his fantasies, Dexter
clings to them. They become a part of him. At the conclusion of
Part I of the story Fitzgerald writes that " . . . Dexter was
unconsciously dictated to by his winter dreams." It is his winter
dreams that make him quit his job as a caddy and later decide to
pass up a state university in favor of a more glamorous university
he can barely afford to attend.
Fitzgerald tells us that even though Dexter's romantic winter
dreams happened to concern being wealthy, he was not a snob. He
didn't want to socialize with wealthy people in their world.
Dexter wanted "glittering things." He wanted "the best."
Ultimately, he does become very wealthy.
The parallels between Dexter Green and Jimmy Gatz/Jay Gatsby are
strong. Both begin life as poor Midwestern boys; both long for
beauty and romance; both fall in love with--and lose--beautiful,
selfish women ; both believe that money will make their dreams come
true; both of them are wrong.
One interesting difference between them concerns how they relate
to their dreams at the conclusions of their stories. Gatsby dies
holding on to his dream of Daisy, that she will call. Dexter feels
his dream die and suffers for it. Dexter says, "Long ago . . . long
ago, there was something in me, but now that thing is gone."