The structure and narration in “Winter Dreams” goes in tandem with the critical views elucidated and argued by F. Scott Fitzgerald in the story. The search for pleasure of the characters does not fructify as per their expectations and as such their lives are split and imperfect, with no harmonious blending of events. The story runs into six sections of not uniform length. This is pointer to the relationship between Dexter and Judy which is uneven, uncertain and given to conjectures with the blend of betrayals and affections. Unity of purpose and ideals are not seen in the mold of characters to find stability in life and meaning of true existence. The characters lack clear direction and destination which is the deliberate planning of the author to create a confused and painful ending.
Dexter’s coming to awareness
Dexter’s characterization works to a pattern. The author provides specific details from his life with a definite purpose in view. The travails in the love-hate drama in the lives of Dexter and Judy are like the warning post about those who forget the ground realities of life, being caught in the trap of infatuation in the first flush of enthusiasm for love. Amidst the chase of his materialistic ambitions for aggrandizement of wealth, Dexter encounters a pretty but selfish girl. But their status is poles apart. His background is modest but the woman he loves is part of the exclusive world. Judy becomes the dream within his dream of the financial world of acquiring more wealth and to adopt the rich lifestyles. But Dexter’s miscalculation is that Judy will remain forever young and her beauty will last for all time to come. Soon he realizes that her passionate vitality and liveliness are transient and his inner world does not throb for being associated with Judy.
Chasing the American Dream
This is another story of chasing the American Dream by the combustible younger generation of America. Dexter has both aggression to prosper and the loving heart of a bard, and gets inspired by Judy in his materialistic endeavors, influenced by her passionate vitality and lively exuberance. When the electrifying power of her feminine charm is on the wane, Dexter becomes cynical and turns inward for happiness. The marathon chase of the American Dream takes the toll and Dexter visualizes the emptiness of life and futility of the various aspects of the goal he has been chasing.
True happiness is within and one has to achieve it. Dexter is dependent on an external factor, Judy and her physical beauty in the chase of his happiness. That is his undoing. Minus the Judy factor, cynicism and emptiness engulfs his heart. He laments, “Long ago, there was something in me, but now that thing is gone. Now that thing is gone, that thing is gone. I cannot cry. I cannot care. That thing will come back no more” (p.28). So his winter dreams, he realizes, are just like the mirage. All that which he considers extraordinary has become meaningless, he thinks he has lost the direction and destination. The enigmatic charm of Judy and her magnetic influence are not there, he is a disappointed thirty-two year old bachelor, and he just accumulates money, in sheer compulsion of the habit of acquiring. The life will not be the same again and the shadow is not the original figure! Neither he nor Judy can live the life they have been living before, and there is no excitement in life. Paying the tribute to their relationship, with has turned complex that is too difficult for the spoken words to explain, the author writes, “Two tears had rolled down her wet face and trembled on her upper lip. “I’m more beautiful than anybody else,” said brokenly, “Why can’t I be happy?” Her moist eyes tore at his stability”. (p.22) Dexter has no answer for her predicament which is his own predicament as well!
Ref: Fitzgerald, F. Scott. Winter Dreams. Kessinger Publishing, 2004, Print.