F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story “Winter Dreams” and his book The Great Gatsby, it could be argued that there were many similarities between the two stories. In “Winter Dreams”, a youthful caddie named Dexter meets a beautiful rich girl whom he had met many years before. Dexter exaggerates is wealth in order to impress her. However, she marries a very rich and abusive husband. She became abused and unattractive, Dexter looses all hope in gaining her back. The Great Gatsby is a story about Jay Gatsby, a flashy millionaire who was not born into wealth but earned it through hard work and illegal activity. He aspires to blend in with the rich community in order to get back his love, Daisy, who he has lost to Tom, a rich and powerful man years ago. Gatsby thinks that Daisy does not love Tom, but she only loves Tom’s sophisticated wealth. When Gatsby nearly has his love back, she discovers that Gatsby illegally obtained his wealth and she no longer admires Gatsby as she once has. Although he does not give up hope, his dream is destroyed. Tragically Gatsby is killed and the truth about his popularity is revealed; that people did not love him, they just loved his wealth. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story “Winter Dreams” and his book The Great Gatsby strong similarities exists in its plot, characters, and themes.
One of the most obvious reoccurring themes of Winter Dreams and The Great Gatsby is the poor mans fight to gain the affection of the ignorant aristocrats. In both cases it’s the poorer man who falls in love with a beautiful but ignorant rich girl. Both men fake their wealth the in fear that the superficial prejudices of the aristocrat will destroy their relationships. Gatsby attempts to gain the respect of the rich, especially Daisy, by showing off his wealth. The only reason he shows off his hard earned wealth is to impress Daisy. “‘You resemble the advertisement of the man,’ she went on innocently. ‘You know the advertisement of the man-’”(p. 125) This ironic statement made by Daisy compared Gatsby to a billboard advertisement. This is ironic because in a sense he is advertising himself to her by showing off his wealth. Dexter’s girl, Judy too is very attracted to wealth, and she is not so secretive about it. “There was a pause. Then she smiled and the corners of her mouth drooped and an almost imperceptible sway brought her closer to him, looking up into his eyes.” (p.7) Here Dexter realizes Judy’s love for the rich when he lies and tells her that he is filthy rich. This sudden affection from her isn’t unexpected because Dexter saw how distressed she was when she discovered that her previous boyfriend was poor. Another predominate theme evident in both of these stories is of the empty life of the wealthy. Both Gatsby and Dexter realize that their friendships, popularity, and admiration from others is shallow and is only brought about by their show of wealth. Dexter realizes this when he hears that Judy Jones has married a wealthy man who “treats her like the devil.” (p. 15) Which Devlin (Dexter’s Friend) tried to explain to Dexter that the man Judy married beat and cheated on her. To Dexter the marriage seemed to be built on the fact that her husband was rich. It is hard for Gatsby to realize that his partying friends don’t care for him at all. Gatsby has suspicions when he hears circulated rumors about him. Many of his guesses claim that they know Gatsby very well (the truth is that no one really attempts to get to know Gatsby). This claim of intimacy with Gatsby is only for improving that person’s social status. After Gatsby’s death, the reader realizes that they’re not truly his friends, because among the hundreds of Gatsby’s “party” friends, only two of them go to Gatsby’s own funeral.
Several characters from The Great Gatsby appear in some form or another in “Winter Dreams”. In many ways Dexter and Gatsby are the same. They both fall in love with a rich girl, they both knew that girl years before and they both tried to look wealthy so they would not scare away the rich girls. Dexter was neither rich, nor poor. He told Judy that “I’m probably making more money than any man my age in the northwest.” (p.7) Dexter says this to test his idea that she is only interested in wealth. Although this may indicate to him that she only loves his money, he is to infatuate with her to care. Dexter probably felt that he needed to say this because Judy was also just recently crushed by the unexpected news that her boyfriend was poor. Gatsby was in fact rich, but he did not obtain his wealth from his family like Daisy or Tom. Gatsby worked his hardest to get rich enough to have Daisy. He obtained a great portion of his wealth illegally from bootlegging liquor. In the rich community, people who where not born rich weren’t considered refined, especially those who obtained their wealth illegally. This is what Gatsby wishes to hide from Daisy and Tom would look down on Gatsby if they knew the truth. Gatsby’s love for Daisy is much more lasting than Dexter’s is. While Gatsby spends his life trying to get Daisy back, Dexter gives up the moment he hears news that Judy got married. Tom also resembles Lud Simms (the man who married Judy in “Winter Dreams”). Both of them seem to be abusive control freaks. Tom has an abused second-rate mistress named Myrtle outside of his marriage with Daisy. Lud is said to treat Judy very badly he has also cheating on her. Tom and Lud are both very rich and refined while Myrtle and Judy both seem to take the abuse from their men with little or no effort to question their abuse. Their marriages have a lack of bonding love and are probably only held together due to their similar wealth. Both of these stories share many characterization traits that are strong in each story.
The plots of each of these stories share many similarities. For example, in each story the main character and their true love share a past together. Where Dexter remembers Judy as an eleven-year-old brat, Gatsby shared a meaningful relationship with Daisy when he was in college. Dexter, who knew Judy years earlier, fell in love later when she matured and became irresistibly beautiful. Both of the main character’s girls at one point married a rich, abusive, and cheating husband. Both of the girls seemed ruined by their marriage because their relationship was based only on their similar upper class wealth. While Gatsby’s love was everlasting and was only destroyed by Gatsby’s own death, Dexter’s love was frivolous and easily destructible. Both stories end with the main character losing their girls and all of their hope. Neither story had happy endings. While Dexter’s story ended with a loss of interest with her love, Gatsby’s ended with the terrible tragedy of his death. There are many plot similarities in these to stories, but The Great Gatsby was much bolder than “Winter Dreams” because of the extreme love that Gatsby has and the destruction of his dream, which was his death.
There are many theme, character, and plot similarities in both works of F. Scott Fitzgerald. The poor man’s struggle to be liked by the rich and the truth that wealth destroys one’s true dreams is a common theme. Another commonality is that of a poor man who feels that it is necessary to hide his true identity from the rich (who themselves wish to associate only with other rich people). Finally, there’s the futility of a poor man wishing to be loved by an aristocrat who will not associate herself with a man beneath her social class. It is evident that there are strong similarities between these two stories. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story Winter Dreams and his book The Great Gatsby.