How does "Winter Dreams" reflect the post-WWI economic boom, and what impact does Fitzgerald suggest sudden wealth has on people?

Quick answer:

Wealth forms the economic background to "Winter Dreams." Fitzgerald shows how when economic prosperity comes to people suddenly, without preparation or education, the result can be turmoil. Wealth can be especially destructive to human relationships.

Expert Answers

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Young Dexter Green, the protagonist of "Winter Dreams," has a combination of attributes that work to bring him affluence as an adult. His work as a caddy at the Sherry Island golf club has offered him a front row seat to observe the behavior and attitudes of the wealthy and has sparked his desire to exceed the success of the men for whom he worked. It has shown Dexter, in the incarnation of Judy Jones, what the women of this class are like, and he can't overcome his attraction to her despite some red flags in her behavior. His native intelligence and ambition coincide with the boom of a post-war economy to bring him considerable financial success and easy access to the people he once served. However, Dexter has not sussed out the meaning of genuine and enduring love between two people, and his confusion results in deep, long-lasting unhappiness and loneliness that lies unresolved when the story ends.

Dexter's disillusionment pervades the story's final paragraph. Had he been raised firmly in wealth and privilege, or just never known it at all, he would likely have been in a better place emotionally. He had a preconception of what success and affluence would mean to him, and he finds out it has not fulfilled him in the way that he expected it would. His despair is compounded by the realization that his dreams were ill-conceived and cannot be revised.

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