Symbolism In F. Scott Fitzgerald's Winter Dreams

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All that glitters is not gold. “Winter Dreams” by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a story that reveals the reality of the American dream. Fitzgerald’s short novel focuses on a man named Dexter Green, who came from a humble background and grew up living in a middle-class household. This, however, is not enough for him and Dexter develops a dream of becoming successful and wealthy. He craves to be a part of the elite and make a name for himself. Dexter’s obsession with joining the elite is heightened in the winter, which to many is a season that is associated with no motivation and a melancholy feeling. When working as a caddy as a young boy, he sees first-hand what it could be like to live that wealthy lifestyle. Among the rich members of the golf club, …show more content…

Judy becomes a symbol of the upper class that Dexter has always longed to join, and he allows her to use him over and over while she indulges in affairs with other men. Dexter completely romanticizes her and connects her in his mind to the higher status he craves. Throughout the short story, Fitzgerald effectively communicates Dexter's disillusionment with his quest for the American dream by incorporating symbolism, imagery, and dramatic irony. Fitzgerald emphasizes the emptiness of Dexter’s materialistic aspirations and his eventual realization of their falseness through the symbols of darkness and the color gold. Darkness serves as a symbol of the loneliness and emptiness that creeps up on Dexter in his journey of climbing the social ladder. When Dexter has seemingly had enough of Judy’s games, he gets engaged to a woman named Irene. Being engaged to Irene, however, does not make him happy and increases his feelings of emptiness: “Dexter walked the streets at night when the darkness was damp as rain, wondering that so soon, with so little done, so much of ecstasy had gone from him” (641). …show more content…

“When he crossed the hills the wind blew cold as misery, and if the sun was out he tramped with his eyes squinted up against the hard dimensionless glare” (630). Along Dexter’s journey, he will end up finding himself in disappointing situations no matter what. When the wind is cold, like how it is in the winter, he keeps going and fights through it, but when it is in the warmer months, he cannot take the dissatisfaction of his situation. This image of the two conditions shows that he is going through inner struggles while trying his best to be the best. “The gates were closed, the sun was gone down and there was no beauty but the grey beauty of steel that withstands all time” (646). The image of everything shutting down highlights how Dexter is coming to reality and the illusion of the American dream fades. The metaphorical gates to his dreams are closing and his future is no longer looking bright. Knowing that Judy Jones is no longer as beautiful as she once was, he realizes that nothing is ever truly beautiful. Resilient things like steel are the only things that stay beautiful. It becomes clear to Dexter that all of the pain he felt through his pursuit of happiness has brought disillusionment and the hopes he once had are slipping

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