Winter Dreams

F. Scott Fitzgerald is a rare example of a writer who achieved both popular success and respect from literary critics. Even more unusually, he achieved both at the beginning of his writing career. His first and second novels, This Side of Paradise (1920) and The Great Gatsby (1925), were both immediate best-sellers and Gatsby is still considered by many critics to be one of the finest novels ever written by an American. He was also a prominent short story writer who regularly published in the popular magazines of his day. Despite his publishing success, his personal life was nightmarish and he died young—44 years old—of a heart attack brought on by alcoholism.

In many ways, Fitzgerald’s fiction reflects the thematic division of his own life: the façade of success which covers a life that feels empty and corrupted. Fitzgerald wrote about the upper crust of society, and those who try to rise up and achieve the American Dream of wealth and privilege. Invariably, the Dream turns into a nightmare that destroys those who try to gain it. These key Modernist themes thread their way through all of Fitzgerald’s fiction, including his story “Winter Dreams.”

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1. On the surface, both of the principal characters of the story, Dexter Green and Judy Jones, enjoy lives that embody the American Dream: wealth, status, and luxury. However, describe the different ways the characters demonstrate the emptiness at the center of their lives (they feel the emptiness, but may not be consciously aware of it). Find one example for each character.

Hints for question #1:

Judy is a “tease.” She tries to acquire the love and fascination of other men. When Dexter is prepared to marry another girl, Judy ignites Dexter’s desire. Will having all these men chasing her give her life meaning?

For Dexter, he chases so many other things (wealth, status, luxury) and he chases Judy. He chases after her even after he fully realizes that Judy will never commit to him. Will Judy ever give his life meaning?

2. Why does Dexter break down and cry when he hears of the fate of Judy Jones, a woman who rejected him?

Hint’s for question #2:

Think about the story’s title, “Winter Dreams.” For Dexter, Judy’s beauty has become his “dream.” Well after Dexter has lost Judy, the actual woman, he still live the “dream” of Judy. But does the end of story, has Dexter lost even the “dream” too?


Due on Mar. 25, 11:59 pm.

You will submit your answers as a Microsoft Word document to the Turnitin database, which is in the Assignments section of Blackboard.

Please use the Answer Sandwich method to answer each question. The 2 passages you add to your answer should be around 2-4 sentences long. Please include a page reference for the 2 passages ( page number )

Keep in mind that I may select any of these questions to be the upcoming quiz question. Also, I use these discussion questions to create the exams and the major paper assignment. So do your best on each question.


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