What does "stuff" in line 140 mean in Fitzgerald's work? What does the direct address and flash forward teach us? What shift does the section break signal?

Quick answer:

“Stuff” in this line means “type of content” or “substance.” Fitzgerald uses the constancy of that substance to contrast with the changing “quality and the seasonability” of Dexter’s winter dreams. To this point, the narrative emphasized one incident when Dexter was fourteen. In Section 2, the direct address and flash forward inform the reader that the impulsive, ambitious teenager becomes a successful man.

Expert Answers

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The sentence in which the term “stuff” appears reads:

Now, of course, the quality and the seasonability of these winter dreams varied, but the stuff of them remained.

This is the first sentence of Section II of “Winter Dreams.” By “stuff”, the author means the type of content or the substance of the dreams, and by “quality” means the degree of elaboration that Dexter puts into the dreams, which could actually occur in any season. F. Scott Fitzgerald uses direct address to draw in the reader and inserts a flash forward to inform them of what will happen later in Dexter’s life.

In “Winter Dreams,” Dexter is initially presented as an imaginative, ambitious boy who dreams about achieving great things and becoming admired for doing so. The story’s first section introduces Dexter at age fourteen and offers an anecdote an encounter that he had with a willful but lovely girl when he was working as a caddy.

In Section II, the narrative abruptly shifts, and the narrator directly addresses the reader, saying “do not get the impression….” The narrator gives further insight into Dexter’s capabilities of making things concrete that had what originated in his imagination.

Along with emphasizing that Dexter continued to dream and turns his dreams into reality, the narrator reveals that Dexter was materialistic as well as ambitious. His desire to equal or surpass other people arose out of more than competitive; it was a desire to possess.

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

Avoiding mention of Dexter’s personal or emotional experiences, the narrator sums up Dexter’s future success: “He made money.”

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