Winter Dreams by F. Scott Fitzgerald was published in nineteen twenty-two in the Metropolitan Magazine. Fitzgerald was labeled the spokesperson for the reckless youth of the nineteen twenties and for a good reason. He was a part of this reckless youth, he was eloquent, and he had an insight of where it would lead that the others did not. The theme of the short story is Fitzgerald’s insight to those who get carried away in attaining the American Dream and see it as an attainment for wealth and only wealth and how that alone does not make an individual happy.
Dexter Green, the protagonist, comes from an upper middle class family and is dissatisfied from his youth. He wants to attain wealth and the all of the things in life that he associates with the wealthy. Golfing, belonging to a country club, and possessing the richest girl in town are all things that Dexter thinks he has to have to prove that he has achieved his goal.
He does become a wealthy man, he comes home to be accepted in the social circles where he was once only good enough to work, but he has not achieved the goal of obtaining Judy Jones, the daughter of the wealthiest man in town. Judy Jones is a horrible person who does not know how to love, yet what she represents means more to Dexter than the person He is not satisfied with what he has, because he cannot have it all. Fitzgerald saw this as becoming a problem with the materialistic attitudes of the nineteen twenties.
Today it is easy to look back and see that if those living then would have just realized what they had, and appreciated things, then the crash of twenty-nine might not have happened. Even though it is easy to see this now when one looks back, it is difficult to internalize about the present generation.Fitzgerald’s style is evident in Winter Dreams because he uses his characteristic descriptive details and his realistic dialogue. Fitzgerald was a melancholy person, and in his writing he points out the sins of his generations and generations to come, but it is obvious through his tone that he feels that people will not learn from their mistakes and will be doomed to repeat them. The substitution of the word winter for American when it comes to dreams is symbolic of the things that are cold with no feeling and glitter in the sunlight. They also melt away when warmth is applied. This short story that is structured into sections which skip several years between each of the parts is ironic in that Dexter does not achieve his winter dream because it was impossible from the start.Winter Dreams is a short story that is universal. It spoke volumes to people of the nineteen twenties and to every generation since. When people chase winter dreams, they will fade before their eyes just like the season.