Analysis of F. Scott Fitzgerald's Short Story "Winter Dreams"

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Winter Dreams is a short story by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald that reflects on the life of young man, Dexter Green from his 14 years of age the too late 30s. Green, who is the main character in the short piece, is a caddy at the begging of the story but decides to quit his caddy work when he meets his dream girl Judy Jones. Since he is from a standard level with his father owning the second best grocery store in town, Green resolves to pursue his ‘winter dreams’ to become the kind of a person who would fit into his lover’s wealthy world. Fitzgerald gives an account of the advances in business such as laundry business the main character ventures in a while in the campus in pursuit to win Judy, but eventually, he loses. Green accepts and moves on with another girl only later in his older age to hear how Judy suffers after getting an irresponsible husband making him regret not achieving his winter dreams. The short story has had different critics with scholars giving a different response to the 1922 piece with some elaborated in this paper.

Four Voices in ‘Winter Dreams’

Written by Gerald Pike in 1986, the article reflects on the style Fitzgerald utilizes in his short story while comparing his level of maturity in the literary work among others he wrote during this period such as Beautiful and Damned and The Great Gatsby. According to pike, Winter Dreams reveals many exhibitions of maturity of its form and style despite it acquiring little serious critical scrutiny. Pike capitalizes on the argument by Fitzgerald that ‘Winter Dreams’ was a sort of the first draft of the Gatsby idea a revelation that the author borrowed more than the physical setting of the short story and the thematic constructs such as for the lost youth, empty money, and protracted adulations. The struggles through difficulties for the creation of a superior work as experienced in developing a draft, for this case Gatsby does not limit the evolution of ideas in Fitzgerald’s work, which goes beyond and enhances the understanding of stylistic problems and strategies in the Winter Dreams (Pike 315). Pike therefor appreciates the effort of physical and thematic approach employed by the author of the short fiction while referring to the time of its publication and the distinct appeal it takes over the other works by the same author.

Another explored feature in this article is the aspect of authoritative voices utilized short story while depicting the life of the young person, Green. Fitzgerald explores through distinct shifts in authorial voice, while occasionally with less than felicitous effect although always has a sense that the sound utilized should match the texture of the subjects described. Pike elaborates on four voices evident in the short story where he claims two to be dominant. For example, one of the sounds is the one that utilizes richly romantic prose style to which many applaud or condemn Fitzgerald. The writer creates extreme emotion, which Pike argues that it could have had the most extravagant terms if it had occurred in all five first sections of the short story (Pike 321). The illustration of poetic voice while expressing romance for the young character, once he meets Judy and his later lover has a persuasive authority with impressive power to the reader. Pike is categorical that while in the other earlier works of Fitzgerald there is a sense of struggles to bring out the four voices, winter dreams act as the turning point for the author’s stylistic writing in novels.

School Days

School Days is an article written by Sam Pickering and forms one of the collections of essays in the book Art and Letters

published in 1951. While reflecting on the life for different people while in learning institutions, Pickering reflects on the writing of Fitzgerald and supports his ides of young people’s passion for close association or affiliation with glittering things (Pickering 428). The article promotes the thematic approach for the short story through the interpretation of young people’s desire where they leave the societal morals, have their lives seem empty, and their religion becomes more political than spiritual. The aspect is the same that happened to the primary character Green, who looks for a lavish lifestyle while not appreciating the economic position for his parents. It is expedient that while there is hope that learning institutions shape the lives of young people, the learners, in turn, do not find any glittering aspect of attracting them, and hence middle-aged men marry trophy wives and end up being dented and tarnished. The philosophy as illustrated in Winter Dreams makes Green suffer while chasing after Judy Jones.

Comparison of the two articles

The two articles discussed above seem to agree and appreciate the approach that Fitzgerald applies while writing the short story Winter Dreams. While Pike in the article Four Voices in Winter Dreams focuses on both the stylistic and thematic approach to achieve a complete story, Sam Pickering, on the other hand, appreciates the themes outlined in the short story such as the fate for young people while in institutions of learning. The two writers complement one another on the maturity of the literary work where it has a reflection of societal values as it sought to teach on class imbalances and the lustful desires on young men that lead them to a deflected and regretful life. One thing is evident that romance proves to be a central subject among young people and if mishandled, it leads to life regrets. For example, Pickering notes of how young people look for a glittering and lavish thing while in institutions like universities and end up looking for life that they cannot afford (Pickering 429). The approach Fitzgerald uses to bring out such vital life aspects for young people makes the two scholars use his fiction as a reference point for point turning in literary works for achievement purposes.

Analysis of Four Voices in Winter Dreams

Gerald Pike gives an accurate interpretation of the fictitious short story Winter Dreams when he highlights on the four voices that are present in the piece with two voices dominating the six sections work. Any reader for Fitzgerald’s work can realize these voices with one of the dominant voice being the poetic voice used to depict romance theme in the book. It is this voice that portrays Dexter Green’s point of view and Character, showing his desires, his ambitions and thoughts as a young man who meets a lover of higher economic status. The poetic voice from every reader's perspective comes out when we see the first character skiing across the snow-bound fairways, and the author mentions that the winter shut down like the white lid of a box (Fitzgerald 114). The language used in the short story as Pike illustrates an expression of emotional investments it renders moot the traditional distinction highlighted between the first and the third-person narration.  There is eloquence in the description of Judy jones when the character first appears in the story, which the author describes as beautifully ugly, inexpressibly lovely and one who could bring no end of misery to a significant number of men (Fitzgerald 115).


In conclusion, Winter Dreams is one of the best novels for Fitzgerald that illustrates his turning point in authorship due to its representation of a complete story with excellent style and themes. The book that depicts the life of young character Dexter Green from the age of 13 to the period of 32 years provides an accurate picture of the social challenges young people face due to their desires and ambitions such as affluent lifestyle and ‘glittering’ things. Both Gerald Pike and Sam Pickering agree on the thematic approach of the novel relating it with the authentic life situations of youths and appreciating the impact the book has to the literary world and the entire society during the modern age.

Works cited

Fitzgerald, Francis Scott. Winter Dreams. Feed books, 1922.

Hughes, H. Stuart, and Straus Farrar. "Arts & Letters."(1951).

Pike, Gerald. "Four Voices in"Winter Dreams."Studies in short fiction 23.3 (1986): 315.

December 12, 2023



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