Student Question

What type of character is Judy Jones in F. Scott Fitzgerald's “Winter Dreams”?

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In "Winter Dreams," Judy Jones is a complex character motivated by self- interest.

Judy Jones's first appearance in the story displays her self- interest.  She dominates her nurse, ordering her and then hitting her with her golf club in the attempt to get what she wants.  She is insistent on ensuring her voice dominates all and shows little regard for others.  Her self- absorbed is evident in how she moves from man to man, ensuring that they are under her control. Fitzgerald writes that Judy Jones is  ‘‘entertained only by the gratification of her desires and by the direct exercise of her own charm.’’  The need to feed her own wishes is a significant part of her self- indulgent characterization.

Judy Jones best displays her egoism in her relationship with Dexter. She has little interest in him when they are a couple.  However, once she hears that he is "giving Irene Scheerer a violent rush," she shows a desire for him. It is clear that she only covets him when they are separate from one another, like a child who only wants something that someone else possesses.  When Dexter commits to her and leaves Irene, Judy's attention moves elsewhere. Her relationship with Dexter is meant to satisfy her own interests, and is reflective of her self- interest trait.  

Judy's "magnitude of me" condition is a significant part of her tragic condition.  When she asks Dexter why she cannot be happy even though she is "more beautiful than anyone else," it reflects how a life dedicated to self- interest is ultimately shallow.  As a result, Fitzgerald offers an insightful statement about both the 1920s time period and what it means to be a human being.

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