Title: writing a response essay to Winter Dreams by F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story
- Total Pages: 2
- Words: 752
- Citation Style: MLA
- Document Type: Research Paper
My professor's requirements are below here. He will expect these in my essay. You can choose the topic as you wish and create the title etc. The only thing I would like to add beside my professor's note is that I'm actually in freshman year but my english isn't good that's why I chose the high school level. Please make it easy to understand and no fancy words- basic words mostly. And lastly, sometimes he asks ah that's interesting how did you come up with that idea or what did you try to mean here etc. so if you could explain and support all the statements in my essay it'll be great.
this is the instructions :
-should be written in PRESENT tense
-he wants usus to use objective diction : "please do not use "you" for critical writing in my class. Instead, try for the plural 3rd person. (or if necessary, 1st person)
-use vivid description where appropriate : "when writing a paper or response, try to refer to a scene by quickly describing it, rather than by writing "on page 5" or "in chapter 23". Use description to set up your questions, and to supply evidence for your claims. But do not feel obliged to summarize a lot of plot for no reason. For responses, just set up your problem/question and then interpret it.
-support every idea/observation/assertion with specific references to the text.
Your second essay will be written is response to F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story, "Winter Dreams." Remember: you must have a strong thesis statement in the introduction. The title of the story and the author's name should also appear in the introduction. Be thoughtful in creating your own title; don't simply use the author's title.
Make sure that your paper has more analysis than summary. Choose one of the topics below as a point of entry into the literary work. Please use two quotations from the short story, and introduce them with the "sandwich technique."
SANDWA?CH TECHNA?QUE A?S :
"- For quotation, paraphrase and summary : Choose the most important sentence and create a quotation that starts with the author's last name and ends with the page number. or
Choose the most important idea and paraphrase it. Include the author's last name and ends with the page number.
- When writing a quotation or paraphrasing he wants usus to do it like this :
1) Start with the introduction to the material : author plus present tense verb.
2) Then, the quotation or paraphrase and be careful with the punctuation.
3)Finally, the comment explains the connection between the writer's ideas and your own.
-Introduction to P or Q - Author's last name and present tense verb. Here's a list of verbs so you don't repeat the same verb. do not use "say".
-Admit, reason, believe, claim ,suggest, think, write, insist , observe , point out ,illustrate , deny , declare,comment, compare, emphasize , dispute report, respond etc.
-Next, give the paraphrase or quotation, and include the author's last name and page number in parentheses (124.)Include the author's last name if it is not in your sentence. EX: (Schlosser 124)
-Finally, you must comment on the paraphrase or quotation - start with a transition and explain how the P or Q supports the main idea or topic.
ex : clearly, this comment or plan shows that, this shows that, it follows that, it seems clear that, obviously, indeed etc."
these are his notes additional and the part where we pick the topic we choose:
Reading to Write
Fitzgerald wrote "Winter Dreams" as he was planning what would become the classic novel The Great Gatsby. Not surprisingly, the short story and the novel have many common elements. The plot of each centers on a young man who dreams of becoming a member of the wealthy upper class and connects that dream to the courtship of one of the most celebrated belles of the elite group to which he has aspirations of belonging. To win her would be evidence that he has indeed achieved unquestionable membership in society's upper echelons. Fitzgerald makes it clear that Daisy at least at one point loves Gatsby and pines for him even as she prepares to marry Tom Buchanan. Judy, however, never experiences a genuine attachment to Dexter. The narrator says that Judy keeps many young men on a string, giving them just enough attention so that they will keep courting her but never committing to any of them. Despite what Dexter learns to the contrary seven years later, as he is courting her it appears that Judy is
not a girl who could be "won" in the kinetic sense??"she was proof against cleverness, she was proof against charm; if any of these assailed her too strongly she would immediately resolve the affair to a physical basis, and under the magic of her physical splendor the strong as well as the brilliant played her game and not their own. She was entertained only by the gratification of her desires and by the direct exercise of her own charm. Perhaps from so much youthful love, so many youthful lovers, she had come, in self-defense, to nourish herself wholly from within. (227)
The passage portrays romance and courtship as a battle that men wage in order to "win" the most attractive woman by exerting their "cleverness" and "charm," "assailing" her with these qualities until she capitulates. In the case of Judy Jones, however, the courtship process is not progressing smoothly toward its logical end. Judy refuses to be won over by these suitors, and she has the luxury of doing so without risking their abandonment because of her great beauty. The "magic of [Judy's] physical splendor" causes the men to fear that if they drop out of the game, another of their lot will make off with a prize they will forever envy. Because of this trump card, Judy is able to make the men play "her game and not their own." In Judy's game, she herself is still the prize, but she is also in charge of the rules of play, capable of keeping all her suitors at bay and yet still involved in the game. Judy gains a great deal of power in this scenario, but it is power that she will instantly forfeit if she allows any man to win the game.
The narrator speculates that because of having so many men courting her, Judy has learned "in self-defense" to "nourish herself wholly from within," entertained by "the gratification of her desires and the direct exercise of her own charm." This makes sense considering that to keep herself empowered??" in charge of the game of courtship??"Judy must continue to position herself as the unattainable prize. To gain "nourishment" from any of the men who court her??"to allow them to penetrate her defenses and to depend on them for emotional or psychological support??"would mean giving up her position of power. So Judy finds fulfillment in the only safe way that she can, by using her beauty and charm to keep men attracted to her and entranced in her game. Judy, however, cannot keep this up forever. Her desirability as a candidate for a wife and mother declines as she ages. Indeed, Dexter learns seven years after his relationship with Judy Jones that she has married after all and is now a passive wife and mother who spends her days looking after her children and catering to a husband who does not treat her very well.
Although Judy may come across as heartless, cold, and even cruel in her behavior, particularly toward the main character, Dexter, an analysis of the quoted passage reveals some intriguing reasons for this behavior. This analysis might prompt you to examine further Judy's character and the paradoxical position of power she occupies or to investigate the role of women in Fitzgerald's fictional world by comparing Judy to Irene Scheerer, the woman to whom Dexter is briefly engaged, or even to Daisy Buchanan of The Great Gatsby. You might also consider why Judy captivates Dexter so much and why he is so upset to learn of her fate. What does this reveal about him or about the nature of romantic love? Once you have decided on a particular line of inquiry to pursue, you can identify other relevant passages throughout the story and subject them to a careful analysis to see what they reveal. This process will almost certainly lead you to develop a claim that you assert in your essay as well as help you amass the evidence you will need to support that claim.
Topics and Strategies
The topics suggested below are provided to help you decide on an angle from which to approach "Winter Dreams" and to help you arrive at a claim to make in your essay. Do not feel restricted by the topics listed here or feel compelled to answer each of the subquestions provided under the sample topics. These are designed to spark your thinking and to guide you toward potentially fruitful lines of inquiry. One of the topics or subtopics might prompt you to discover an entirely new topic of your own, or you might decide to combine elements of two suggested topics to develop a line of thinking for your essay. In any case, remember that a great deal of thinking and planning needs to happen before you are ready to start crafting your essay. You might reach a dead end or two as you answer questions in an attempt to work toward a claim to make and support in your essay. Once you have established your claim, you will likely find that some of your analysis and brainstorming can be incorporated into your essay, but a great deal of it will now be abandoned. Do not be tempted to consider this wasted time or writing; it has served the important purpose of helping you discover what you want to say about the story.
If you plan to write an essay on one of the themes of "Winter Dreams," you should first ask yourself what major topics or concerns present themselves in the story. If you had to state in a couple of phrases what the story is about, what would you say? You might say that "Winter Dreams" is about disillusionment or the American Dream, and you might construct an essay on either of these themes. If you were interested in the theme of disillusionment, you would probably begin your brainstorming by rereading the story with a careful eye for any passages that seem connected to your theme. As you analyze these passages, you are trying to figure out what the story says about disillusionment. After much brainstorming and close reading of relevant passages, you might arrive at a thesis arguing, for instance, that Fitzgerald's "Winter Dreams" demonstrates that a certain amount of illusion is necessary for a person's happiness, or perhaps arguing that Fitzgerald's "Winter Dreams" indicates that disillusionment, while it might cause grief, actually frees people to fully embrace and enjoy the reality of their present lives.
Illusion versus reality: What kind of commentary does the story make about disillusionment?
Begin by thinking about what illusions Dexter Green has in his childhood and early adulthood. Where do these illusions come from, and what sustains them? How is Dexter finally disillusioned? Is his false vision of the world crumbled all at once, or does he slowly lose it bit by bit? When Dexter discovers Judy's fate, the narrator tells usus that "[h]e had thought that having nothing else to lose he was invulnerable at last??"but he knew that he had just lost something more, as surely as if he had married Judy Jones and seen her fade away before his eyes" (235). Analyze this passage carefully as well as subsequent passages that detail Dexter's reaction to the news of Judy's married life. As you are planning your essay, think about whether it is always clear what is real and what is illusion in Dexter's perception of the world and whether Dexter is better off with or without his "winter dreams."
The American Dream: What kind of commentary does Fitzgerald make with this story about the nature of the American Dream?
How do Dexter's "winter dreams" compare to the idea of the American Dream? In what ways are they the same and different? You might want to examine closely the opening passages of section II, in which the narrator states that Dexter "wanted not association with glittering things and glittering people??"he wanted the glittering things themselves. Often he reached out for the best without knowing why he wanted it" (221). The narrator says that Dexter was "unconsciously dictated to by his winter dreams" (220). How do Dexter's dreams affect his decisions? Do Dexter's dreams come true? Think about whether the achievement of his dreams brings Dexter happiness. Based on this story, would you say that Fitzgerald considered the pursuit of the American Dream to be ennobling, destructive, or both?
Romantic love: "Winter Dreams" is centered on Dexter's failed romantic relationships with Judy and Irene. What kind of commentary does the story make about the nature of romantic love?
You might start by writing down everything you know about the romantic relationships in the story. What attracts Dexter to Judy? How does he describe his feelings for her? What about his relationship with Irene? Does Dexter learn anything about the nature of love and happiness from these two failed relationships? What does the reader take away from the story about the nature of romantic love?
A good way to begin thinking about drafting an essay about "Winter Dreams"??"o r any other literary work, for that matter??"is to consider the characters who populate it. It is natural to assess other people's motives, to try to figure out how their psyches operate. By applying that tendency to literary works, you can often gain a great deal of insight into their themes and meanings. Take Dexter Green, for example. Based on the information provided in the text, what kind of a person is he? How does he change during the course of the story? Once you have answered these questions, you can consider why the author presented this particular journey in this story.
Dexter Green: Analyze and evaluate the main character of "Winter Dreams," Dexter Green.
Begin by rereading the story, paying close attention to what the narrative reveals about Dexter. What do you know about his background, his goals, and the strategies he uses to achieve them? How does Dexter change through the course of the story? Is his disillusionment ultimately a positive or negative development? You will need to analyze the ending of the story, in particular, to help you make this determination.
Irene Scheerer: Analyze and evaluate the character of Irene Scheerer.
Reread the story, noting every mention of Irene. What do you know about her? What about her appeals to Dexter? You may want to examine in particular the narrator's remark that Dexter "knew that Irene would be no more than a curtain spread behind him, a hand moving among gleaming tea-cups, a voice calling to children" (231). What does this mean about Dexter? Does it signify anything about Irene? How does Dexter feel about abandoning a lifetime with Irene in exchange for what turns out to be a month with Judy Jones?
Mr. Hendrick: What is the function of this character in the story?
Record everything you know about Mr. Hendrick. Pay particular attention to his comments about Judy Jones on the golf course. Hedrick says to his golf partners, including Dexter, "All she needs is to be turned up and spanked for six months and then to be married off to an old-fashioned cavalry captain" (224). Analyze this and other remarks Hendrick makes about Judy. Do any other characters exhibit a similar point of view? As you are thinking about writing an essay on this topic, consider why Fitzgerald included this character in his fictional universe. What are his existence and his comments meant to highlight?
History and Context
Doing some background reading on early 20th-century American culture can be extremely valuable as you construct an essay on one of Fitzgerald's works. A good understanding of the culture that Fitzgerald wrote about and was himself a product of is integral to writing an essay about social issues. If you were interested in the role of women in society or distinctions between old money and new money, for example, you could not simply apply the social norms of 21st-century perspectives to evaluate what commentary Fitzgerald's work is making about these issues. Instead, you must understand what the current social atmosphere was like. What were the mainstream ideas about women and money? What new ideas were coming in to challenge them? With a firm grasp on the cultural atmosphere of the early 20th century, you are positioned to discern and evaluate Fitzgerald's commentary on these questions.
The new woman of the 1920s: What does the story say about the changing role of women in American society?
You will need to do some research into women's rights in the first decades of the 20th century. You might begin with Jean V. Matthews's The Rise of the New Woman: The Women's Movement in America, 1875??"1930. What conflicting ideas about women's roles in society were being entertained in this time period? How are these ideas reflected in "Winter Dreams," and where does Fitzgerald seem to fall in the debate? Reread the story, paying careful attention to all references to Judy Jones. Begin by analyzing, among other things, the passage that describes Judy as a little girl of 11 (218) and her revelation to Dexter that she is running away from a man because "he says I'm his ideal" (224). You should also have a close look at Judy's confession to Dexter that she is upset upon finding out that a man she cared about was actually "poor as a church-mouse" (226). What is really upsetting her here? What are Judy's motives for treating men the way that she does? Is the narrator's assessment of her accurate: "She was entertained only by the gratification of her desires and by the direct exercise of her own charm" (227)? What do you make of her lament to Dexter: "'I'm more beautiful than anybody else,' she said brokenly, 'why can't I be happy?'" (232)?
Class distinctions: What kind of commentary does the story make about class distinctions in the early 20th-century United States?
Do some background reading on early 20th-century American culture, paying particular attention to class distinctions and social hierarchies. You might start your reading with Ralph K. Andrist's The American Heritage History of the 20's and 30's or Judith Baughman's American Decades: 1920??"1929. Once you get some background knowledge, return to "Winter Dreams" and begin recording what you know about Dexter's history. What information is given about his background and his youth? What do you make of the fact that the story begins with a distinction between Dexter and the other boys he works with: "Some of the caddies were poor as sin and lived in one-room houses with a neurasthenic cow in the front yard, but Dexter Green's father owned the second best grocery-store in Black Bear" (217)? How does Dexter imagine that his children's lives will be different from his own? In Dexter's mind, what is the difference between families who have had money for generations and his own situation, being relatively newly moneyed? You might analyze the passage in which Dexter compares himself to the other men who have loved Judy Jones: "He had seen that, in one sense, he was better than these men. He was newer and stronger. Yet in acknowledging to himself that he wished his children to be like them he was admitting that he was but the rough, strong stuff from which they eternally sprang" (225).
Philosophy and Ideas
Looking at some of the big questions implied by "Winter Dreams" is another useful way to work toward an essay topic. For instance, Dexter grapples with concepts of identity. When he first plays a round of golf at the Sherry Island Golf Club, where he used to caddy, he often has "the sense of being a trespasser" and tries to find something in the faces of the current caddies "that would lessen the gap which lay between his present and his past" (221). The story compounds Dexter's discomfort over how he came to be where he is by introducing several instances where invisible forces, fate perhaps, appear to control the characters' destinies more than they themselves do. Dexter's two chance meetings with Judy on the golf course??"meetings that forever shape his life??"are good examples. Running through both Dexter's and Judy's lives are questions about happiness; what role happiness plays in human life and how happiness can be achieved are the kinds of questions that philosophy has long grappled with.
Identity: According to "Winter Dreams," how is identity constructed? How much continuity is there in one's identity?
If Dexter Green's identity rests heavily on his winter dreams, what has happened to him by story's end when the "dream was gone" (235)? Are the characters readily recognizable over the course of their lives? Are Judy Jones and Judy Simms the same person? How or how not? You should analyze these characters at various moments in their course of development and decide whether these characters possess certain traits that remain with them even as much about their lives changes. If so, what qualities are these, and how did the character come to possess them in the first place?
The role of fate: Judging from the story, how much control do people have over their own destinies?
Much of Dexter's life is shaped by sheer coincidence. What if he had not been the one caddy on duty the morning he first met Judy and therefore quit caddying? What if he had not been golfing with Mr. T. A. Hedrick when Judy's ball struck him? What if he had not swum out to the raft the night Judy was out in the motorboat? What if Irene had not had a headache and canceled plans with Dexter? On the other hand, however, could not Dexter, at any of those moments, have decided to react differently? What about the narrator's assertion that Dexter was "unconsciously dictated to by his winter dreams" (220)? How much of a role do his dreams play in determining his fate? After a careful examination of the story, how much control would you say Dexter has over the course that his life takes? If you decide that Dexter, at least consciously, does not direct his own life, then what forces have the most influence on what happens to him?
Happiness: In the world of this story, what constitutes happiness? Does it seem to be a worthy goal? How can it be achieved?
For Judy, happiness obviously should relate to beauty. "I'm more beautiful than anybody else," she cries to Dexter, "why can't I be happy?" (232). Dexter's concept of happiness involves wealth, to some degree, and ecstatic feelings like the ones that Judy arouses in him. Comparing a brief moment of ecstasy with Judy to the prospect of a life of marriage with Irene, Dexter muses that he had traded an "old penny's worth of happiness" for "this bushel of content" (230). Yet neither character seems particularly happy. What would it take for these characters to achieve happiness? Do any of the characters in the fictional world of "Winter Dreams" achieve this elusive quality? Does the story give usus any clue to what true happiness is and how it might be achieved?
Form and Genre
Thinking about the actual construction of a piece of literature, including all of the artistic decisions that have gone into its creation, can be a valuable and rewarding exercise. Once you know that all of these decisions can be open to interpretation, you realize how rich studies of form and genre can be. After all, the author must decide not only what will happen in the story (plot) and who will be involved (characters); he or she must also decide how the story will be told??"in what order, in what tense, in what degree of detail??"and who will tell it. Each of these decisions will affect the story's meaning and can be fruitfully analyzed and interpreted by readers.
Narration: What effect does the narrator have on your interpretation of the story?
Although the narrator of "Winter Dreams" is not named (as Nick is in The Great Gatsby, for example), a sense of his persona comes through in the telling of the story. Locate these instances in which the narrator's persona comes through, as in the opening of section II: "Now, of course, the quality and the seasonability of these winter dreams varied, but the stuff of them remained" (220). What kind of person is the narrator, as far as you can tell? Why does Fitzgerald choose to have this narrator's persona come through in the way that it does here?
Time lapses: Why is Dexter's life not given in a straight timeline?
Reread the story, taking care to note what parts of Dexter's life are revealed by the narrator and which are not. How does the narrator (and Fitzgerald) decide which events to include in this story? Analyze the narrator's remark that "[t]his story is not [Dexter's] biography, remember, although things creep into it which have nothing to do with those dreams he had when he was young. We are almost done with them and with him now. There is only one more incident to be related here, and it happens seven years farther on" (233). What elements in the story have nothing to do with Dexter's winter dreams, and why do they "creep in"?
Organization: Analyze and evaluate the organizational scheme of "Winter Dreams."
As you brainstorm for an essay on this topic, map out the story, carefully describing each of the six sections. Where is it set? What time frame does it cover? What happens in the section? You should also think about how the sections fit together. Why did Fitzgerald stop each section where he did? Why did he divide the story into six unnamed sections? Why do you think he opted to have six sections instead of, for example, five, which would give the story a clear middle section?
Symbols, Imagery, and Language
Paying attention to the symbols and images an author uses to convey meaning can be quite rewarding when studying a literary work. You should first locate those elements of the story that seem to carry more weight than their face value would suggest and then to analyze them. What larger meaning is the author attaching to these items? How does his use of them fit into the overall messages and themes of the piece? In "Winter Dreams," for example, you might notice the striking description of the Jones's home. An analysis of this description might reveal that in Dexter's mind, wealth is associated with unassailable purity. You would then consider how this symbol, complete with these associations, is used in the story. Why does Fitzgerald introduce this symbol with these meanings? How does this help you interpret other elements of the story?
The Jones's home: What symbolic meaning is attached to the Jones's home, and how is Fitzgerald using it in the story?
Near the end of section III, Judy Jones's home is described. Dexter sees "the great white bulk of Mortimer Joneses house, somnolent, gorgeous, drenched with the splendor of the damp moonlight. Its solidity startled him. The strong walls, the steel of the girders, the breadth and beam and pomp of it were there only to bring out the contrast with the young beauty beside him" (232). What does the house represent? Why is it so "white" and "solid"? Once you have figured out what the house represents by analyzing the description that Fitzgerald provides, you should spend some time thinking about how the symbol functions in the context of the story. What, for instance, do you make of Dexter's claim that the house appeared as if designed to "bring out the contrast" with Judy?
Seasons: What symbolic meaning is connected to the seasons in "Winter Dreams"? Why are Dexter's dreams connected to winter?
Pay close attention to the way the landscape is connected to Dexter's personality and moods, particularly in the opening passages of the story. Also think about the traditional symbolic meanings of the seasons, and then compare these to the way Fitzgerald is using them. In your essay, you might argue that Fitzgerald is using the seasons in a traditionally symbolic way or that he adapts or changes their symbolic meanings for his own purposes.
Judy Jones: In what way does Judy function more as a symbol than a character in her own right?
Think about what Judy means to Dexter and to the other men who court her. What does she represent for them? What would it mean for one of them to win her hand in marriage? Why do you think Dexter is so disappointed on his first dinner date with Judy? You might also consider the significance of the narrator's claim that "No disillusion as to the world in which [Judy] had grown up could cure [Dexter's] illusion as to her desirability" (228).
Compare and Contrast Essays
Sometimes the best way to isolate the meaningful traits of a character or symbol is to set it beside a similar element in a different work. For instance, you might develop a more discerning picture of Dexter Green if you compare and contrast him to Jay Gatsby. You might use such a comparison simply in the brainstorming stage or focus on the comparison and contrast in an essay, determining and analyzing the most salient similarities and differences. Of course, you can also compare and contrast elements within a single work. For example, in "Winter Dreams," you might compare and contrast the two main female characters, Judy Jones and Irene Sheerer, looking for any meaningful patterns that would allow you to make a claim about Fitzgerald's portrayal of women and their roles in society.
Jay Gatsby and Dexter Green: "Winter Dreams" was written while Fitzgerald was planning Gatsby, and many comparisons can be made between the short story and the novel. One option would be to compare the main characters of each piece, Dexter Green and Jay Gatsby. What insights can you gain about these characters by setting them side by side?
Record what you know about Dexter and Gatsby, including their backgrounds and their goals. Note also the development of these characters. How are their journeys alike and different? You might use your notes to attempt to draw a conclusion about Fitzgerald's perception of some element of the society in which he lived, the American Dream, perhaps, or romantic love.
Judy Jones and Irene Scheerer: Analyze and evaluate the two main female characters in Dexter's life.
Record everything you know about Judy Jones and Irene Scheerer. How does Dexter feel about each of them, and why? What makes these two characters so different? Do they share any characteristics? Do either of them develop in any way through the course of the story? What conclusions can you draw about Fitzgerald's perception of women and their roles in society through your analysis of these two characters?
Judy Jones of "Winter Dreams" and Marjorie of "Bernice Bobs Her Hair": Compare and contrast these two women, both of whom are apparently "liberated" but suffer major setbacks, as well.
Reread these stories, taking care to note the characteristics of Judy and Marjorie. What are these women like? Describe their relationships with men and with other women. What attributes do they share? What are their respective fates? What patterns can you discover in your study of these two female characters? Can you use them to make an argument about Fitzgerald's perception of women, or certain types of women?
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Fitzgerald, F. Scott. "Winter Dreams." Web. 12 Nov. 2012.