by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Winter Dreams Gender Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Section.Paragraph)
The little girl who had done this was eleven – beautifully ugly as little girls are apt to be who are destined after a few years to be inexpressibly lovely and bring no end of misery to a great number of men. The spark, however, was perceptible. There was a general ungodliness in the way her lips twisted down at the corners when she smiled, and in the — Heaven help us! — in the almost passionate quality of her eyes. Vitality is born early in such women. It was utterly in evidence now, shining through her thin frame in a sort of glow. (1.11)
Here, we first meet Judy Jones, the lovely girl who is going to change Dexter Green's life forever. At this stage in the narrative, Judy is just a big ol' ball of potential: she is "destined after a few years" to be lovely. Now, she's kind of ugly, but she already has an "almost passionate quality" in her eyes. Fitzgerald is making two things clear about Judy: (1) her most important characteristic will be her physical beauty, and (2), beauty in women gives them huge power over men's hearts.
"Boy — "
Beyond question he was addressed. Not only that, but he was treated to that absurd smile, that preposterous smile – the memory of which at least a dozen men were to carry into middle age. (1.21-4)
In this early scene, Judy is eleven and Dexter is fourteen. But Judy still addresses Dexter as "Boy!," as if he is younger than she is. She is able to exert this power not only because she's rich, but also because she's a (soon-to-be-)beautiful girl. Fitzgerald's description of her "absurd smile" and the lasting impression it leaves on the men at the club foreshadows the crazy sway she'll have over men for the rest of the story. What is it with this girl?
As she took her stance for a short mashie shot, Dexter looked at her closely. She wore a blue gingham dress, rimmed at throat and shoulders with a white edging that accentuated her tan. The quality of exaggeration, of thinness, which had made her passionate eyes and down-turning mouth absurd at eleven, was gone now. She was arrestingly beautiful. The color in her cheeks was centered like the color in a picture – it was not a "high" color, but a sort of fluctuating and feverish warmth, so shaded that it seemed at any moment it would recede and disappear. This color and the mobility of her mouth gave a continual impression of flux, of intense life, of passionate vitality – balanced only partially by the sad luxury of her eyes. (2.16)
We can't help but notice that Fitzgerald's descriptions are always at their lushest in "Winter Dreams" when he is describing Judy Jones. She's not just any old hottie. Instead, her appearance is actually what gives the story a lot of its imagery. At the same time, there is this strange separation between what Judy looks like and what she is: she has a lovely exterior but a super bratty interior. Then again, perhaps it is precisely this confusing combination that Dexter finds so attractive?