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Judy's representation of Dexter's ambitions and her role in his failed romance in "Winter Dreams" by F. Scott Fitzgerald


Judy represents Dexter's unattainable ambitions and idealized dreams in "Winter Dreams." Her beauty and charm captivate Dexter, driving his pursuit of wealth and status. However, her elusive and capricious nature ultimately leads to his disillusionment, symbolizing the failure of his romantic and aspirational pursuits.

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What does Judy symbolize for Dexter in "Winter Dreams"? Does he truly love her?

For Dexter, Judy Jones is the epitome of the "glittering things and glittering people" of the world of wealth that he covets. It is around her that Dexter creates his "winter dreams." When he first sees the young Judy, Dexter comprehends the power that wealth seems to bestow upon all it touches.

After Dexter makes his fortune, he returns and circumstances bring Judy into his life again, but his dream is ephemeral as she pours kisses upon him when she learns that he is rich, but then flirts with other men. Nevertheless, Dexter "surrendered a part of himself to the most..unprincipled personality with which he had ever come in contact." Judy possesses an excitability that Dexter finds exquisite, but she is only entertained by having her own desires gratified. Despite his disillusions with Judy's world, Dexter cannot be cured of his illusions about Judy.  

After Dexter finally despairs of marrying Judy, he becomes engaged to  Irene Scheerer; yet, Dexter meets Judy again one night when Irene has a headache. Judy has returned from Florida, and seemingly humble, bemoans that she cannot be happy. "I'd like to marry you, if you'll have me, Dexter."  carried off by emotion, Dexter commits himself to his dream. However, it is only a short time before the marriage is over, and Dexter experiences deep pain. 

It is several years later before Dexter hears anything about Judy; when he does, it is from a man named Devlin who describes Judy as a faded beauty who is ill-treated by her husband, but she takes the abuse. Angry and feeling a tremendous sense of loss as though something has been taken from him, Dexter recalls the beauty of her neck, the old promise of her kisses, the "plaintive melancholy" of her lovely eyes--"the dream was gone," that certain magic that the rich held for him is lost, and only the solid realities are left to Dexter Green.

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What does Judy symbolize for Dexter in "Winter Dreams"? Does he truly love her?

Judy represents the uninhibited drama of youth. She is the epitome of carefree, selfish indulgence, and as a result Dexter is more in love with the image of Judy than her real self.

Judy raises a passion within him, which forces him to break off his engagement for a wild liaison when they meet again as adults. They were never really meant for each other, and as he leaves for further adventure in the army, she marries a man who is cruel to her, and she ages badly as a result.. When he learns of Judy’s poor fortunes, his words suggest that he mourns more for the feelings which accompanied her rather than Judy herself:

  I cannot cry. I cannot care. That thing will come back no more.

The “thing” is more likely to be youthful passion than a derogatory reference to Judy herself.

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In F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Winter Dreams," what does Judy represent to Dexter?

For Dexter, Judy represents all that glitters. That is, she is the embodiment of ambition and success, money, and beauty.

That's what Dexter wants, and that's why he never sees her as she truly is. Judy is just human, but Dexter sees her as perfect, as the key to his happiness. She isn't, and Dexter's bubble is burst at the end of the story when he finally realizes this.

Let's take a look at some evidence for this idea that Judy represents all that is desirable to Dexter: beauty, riches, and success.

First, let's note that Dexter is highly ambitious, even in his youth. He doesn't even have to work as a teenager, since his dad makes enough money to support their family, but Dexter works anyway--day in and day out, he caddies at the golf course, all for a few dollars a day. He wants the "pocket-money," or the money he can have on his own to spend.

More evidence of Dexter's ambition and success appears when the narrator informs us of it directly, and when we see Dexter climbing higher in the social and financial hierarchies:

  • "He wanted not association with glittering things and glittering people--he wanted the glittering things themselves. Often he reached out for the best without knowing why he wanted it--and sometimes he ran up against the mysterious denials and prohibitions in which life indulges."
  • "He made money. It was rather amazing."
  • "Before he was twenty-seven he owned the largest string of laundries in his section of the country."
  • (Spoken by Dexter to Judy) "I'm probably making more money than any man my age in the Northwest." 

So we know that Dexter wants to possess wealth, specifically "the glittering things" in life, and we know he wants to possess Judy, although she continually torments him. (She's constantly drawing him in, then pushing him away.) Dexter realizes that he can never truly have her, but he still desires her because for him, she's not just the epitome of beauty, but also his loftiest, most unattainable goal in life.

Why would we say she represents money then, or "all that glitters"? Because, in the story, Judy literally glitters.

Every time her beauty is described in the story, you get a mental image of a figure bathed in golden light. Here's the most relevant of these images:

"Judy Jones, a slender enamelled doll in cloth of gold: gold in a band at her head, gold in two slipper points at her dress's hem. The fragile glow of her face seemed to blossom as she smiled at him."

She's dressed in gold, wearing a halo, and glowing. She glimmers. That image of Judy as something that glitters, and as a creature who's more than human (part angel and part doll) helps support the idea that she represents success, beauty, and money for Dexter, which is what he wants.

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In the short story "Winter Dreams" by F. Scott Fitzgerald, what is the relationship between Judy and Dexter?

The previous Educator has explained the fickle and shallow nature of Dexter Green's obsession with Judy Jones. I refrain from calling it love, despite their engagement, because Dexter never really gets to know her. Arguably, Dexter's love for Judy begins with his admiration for her father, Mortimer Jones, and the other wealthy men for whom he caddies at the Sherry Island Golf Club in his native Minnesota.

Dexter decides, based on his contact with these men, that he doesn't merely want to be in proximity to the "glittering things" that they own—he wants to possess them himself. Judy is one of those glittering things. Fitzgerald uses certain colors to emphasize this quality in Judy. She's blonde; when they meet at a dance she's wearing gold; when she tans in the summer, she has a bronze-like quality. Dexter seems to believe that if he can have Judy, he can prove to himself that he is as successful and worthy a man as those whom he grew up around.

Oddly, though, after he leaves Minnesota and goes back home to reunite with these characters, Dexter finds that they're not as admirable as he thought. For instance, T.A. Hedrick isn't as great of an athlete as he thought. However, Dexter never applies this clear-eyed vision to Judy. Part of her allure, of course, comes from the fact that he can never really have her. She keeps him at arm's length and has other suitors. Judy's interest in Dexter seems to be based on his unyielding admiration, which flatters her and gives her something to do during episodes of boredom.

Dexter, on the other hand, has idealized Judy's beauty and associates her with his youth, in which time seemed to stretch on forever. When his associate, Devlin, diminishes her beauty, Dexter takes it as an insult—a suggestion that the thing that he desired most was not particularly special. When Dexter learns that she's aged, it makes him realize that he's getting older, too, and that there are limitations on his desires.

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In the short story "Winter Dreams" by F. Scott Fitzgerald, what is the relationship between Judy and Dexter?

In “Winter Dreams” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Judy and Dexter have a tumultuous, “seasonal” romance. Dexter is obsessed with Judy’s beauty and mysterious ways. She is a fickle lover who goes through men on a regular basis, as she easily grows bored with her dates, including Dexter. To Judy, declaring her love for someone is a meaningless exercise. On the other hand, Dexter dreams of days with Judy and lives for his opportunities to spend time with her. He is driven by her unattainable love. Judy is aware of Dexter’s feelings, and takes advantage of him. When he decides to move on, by planning an engagement to another, more stable but less exciting woman, Judy swoops in declaring her love. Dexter walks away from his potential marriage, only to have his heart broken again. War separates them, yet Dexter still dreams of the woman he cannot have. Judy ends up in a difficult marriage and loses her beauty, which puts an end to Dexter’s dreams for the last time. Dexter’s infatuation with Judy dies with her beauty

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How do Dexter's "Winter Dreams" in Fitzgerald's story foreshadow his failed romance with Judy Jones?

Dexter Green feels that there is some magical quality about the rich that is embodied in Judy Jones, the quintessential model of the "glittering things and glittering people" of the world of wealth that he covets. It this aura of the spectacular to which Dexter reacts emotionally, impetuously, and around which he constructs his "winter dreams." But, for Dexter--to rephrase an aphorism--all that glitters is only gold and nothing else; thus, his dreams fail him as merely illusions, just as snow melts away.

F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Winter Dreams" is a story not unlike Charles Dickens's classic tale, Great Expectations, in which the wealth and the life of the upper class lures the innocent Pip into the falsity of material values, social status, and snobbery and hypocrisy. Like Pip,after being smitten by Judy Jones, Dexter leaves home to attain "the glittering things" himself as he feels that wealth bestows upon people a certain power; and, he becomes very successful in a private business. One day he again encounters Judy when he is extended an invitation to play golf at the Sherry Island Golf Club, where he has an accidental meeting with Judy Jones who has become "arrestingly beautiful." When he sees her later that day, on a whim she invites Dexter to dinner, once again "her casual whim gave direction to his life."

Dexter again surrenders himself to his "winter dreams" of Judy. While Judy possesses an excitability that Dexter finds exquisite, she is only entertained by having her own desires gratified, and by "the direct exercise of her own charm"; that is, she is "nourished" only from within herself. So, after bringing Dexter "ecstatic happiness and intolerable agony of spirit" Judy leaves Dexter who later becomes engaged to Irene Scheerer. But, like winter, Judy re-enters his life again, disrupting Dexter's future with Irene as he abandons her for the seduction of his Siren as Judy invites him inside. This affair lasts only a month.

Having tasted "the deep pain" that follows "a deep happiness," Dexter leaves town for New York, but the World War takes him off, "liberating" him from "webs of emotions."

Seven years later, only solid realities are left to Dexter; all dreams have vanished as he learns of Judy's tragic marriage, and her loss of beauty. The fickleness of Judy's self-absorbed emotion, the gilded veneer of her selfishness created but illusions. With characteristic poetic lyricism, Fitzgerald writes,

The gates were closed, the sun was gone down, and there was no beauty but the gray beauty of steel that withstands all time. Even the grief he could have borne was left behind in the country of illusion, or youth, of the richness of life, where his winter dreams had flourished.

These are Dexter Green's thoughts as he gazes with melancholy out the window at the New York sky-line, sensing the mutability of life as he grieves for the capacity to grieve. All "winter dreams," mere romantic illusions, have been lost.

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In "Winter Dreams", what does Dexter want and how does Judy embody his ambitions?

At the beginning of Part II of Fitzgerald's short story, the narrator suggests that Dexter Green has "winter dreams" of not just achieving financial success, but he dreams most of all of "the glittering things themselves."

Because of his dreams, therefore, Dexter selects the "precarious advantage" of a prestigious university in the East from which a degree will help him attain the "glittering" people and things. Later, after Dexter graduates and starts a small laundry that specializes in washing woolen golf-stockings and sweaters, he is soon running a string of laundries throughout the country. Before he is twenty-seven, Dexter owns a chain of laundries in his section of the country. 

Then, one day when Dexter is twenty-three he is given a guest card to the Sherry Island Golf Club for a week-end. There he encounters Judy Jones, who has become "arrestingly beautiful." Because Judy represents to Dexter the grace and beauty of wealth:

This color and the mobility of her mouth gave a continual impression of flux, of intense life, of passionate vitality--balanced only partially by the sad luxury of her eyes.

After seeing Judy, Dexter seeks her as the ultimate "glittering thing" of his desires. Her actions on the golf course and her later invitation to dinner give Dexter a "new direction to his life." 

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In "Winter Dreams", what does Dexter want and how does Judy embody his ambitions?

Having somewhat suddenly and rather dramaticaly ended his job working as a caddie at the golf course where he met Judy, Dexter clearly sets himself on a course to greatness. This is shown through his decision to go to an older and more respected university, which is also more expensive, rather than a newer, less prestigious (and therefore cheaper) university. What Dexter determines he will achieve in life is not simply the kind of lifestyle that is associated with the rich and famous, but the possession of wealth itself, as the following quote makes clear:

He wanted not association with glittering things and glittering people--he wanted the glittering things themselves.

How Judy embodies his "winter dreams" is that she, in the text, is described to be one of those "glittering things." Note the repeated reference to gold in her dress and appearance. It is clear that Fitzgerald presents her as being one of those objects of great wealth and desire that Dexter associates with success and the American dream, and with her breeding and attitude, she becomes the centre of his focus as Dexter seeks to be successful.

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