by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Winter Dreams Gender Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Section.Paragraph)
Whatever Judy wanted, she went after with the full pressure of her charm. There was no divergence of method, no jockeying for position or premeditation of effects – there was a very little mental side to any of her affairs. She simply made men conscious to the highest degree of her physical loveliness. Dexter had no desire to change her. Her deficiencies were knit up with a passionate energy that transcended and justified them. (4.1)
Fitzgerald builds an interesting distinction between men like Dexter and women like Judy in this passage. Dexter has to jockey for position; he only achieves his ambitions through constant planning and self-scrutiny. Judy, on the other hand, can rely utterly on her own nature – her "physical loveliness" – to get what she wants. Judy is honest about who she is in a way that Dexter, literally, cannot afford to be. The difference between them is one of class, in part, but it is also one of gender. In the man's world that Fitzgerald sketches out at the Sherry Island Golf Club, it's only Judy's physical beauty that gets her any recognition.
"You're handsomer than you used to be," she said thoughtfully. "Dexter, you have the most rememberable eyes."
He could have laughed at this, but he did not laugh. It was the sort of thing that was said to sophomores. Yet it stabbed him. (4.43-4)
At several points in the story (1.11, 2.16) the narrator tells us that Judy has amazing eyes. Her eyes are one of her most attractive features. The fact that Judy finds Dexter's eyes so alluring seems to indicate that she does have some kind of special, personal desire for him. But Dexter thinks this is just another example of her insincerity. What do you think?
"I'm more beautiful than anybody else," she said brokenly, "why can't I be happy?" Her moist eyes tore at his stability – her mouth turned slowly downward with an exquisite sadness: "I'd like to marry you if you'll have me, Dexter. I suppose you think I'm not worth having, but I'll be so beautiful for you, Dexter." (4.61)
Man, even Judy's sadness is "exquisite" – this girl can't lose. Even now that Judy seems vulnerable in her tears, her emotion has a beautiful quality that makes it seem like a show or a performance.