The New Woman of the 1920’s in ‘Winter Dreams’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Among the essences that pulses throughout “Winter Dreams” is the liberation of females, which, throughout history, has frequently been related to the Roaring Twenties. Although the principle and title of The New Woman was very first created in the late nineteenth century, it really began to spread across the country and to all classes, in the 1920’s. In this age, females won the right to vote, used lighter clothing, and partied with their male equivalents till late in the night. Old conventions were broken and slowly left behind, in addition to the morals and ethics which both males and females deserted for the gain of specific freedom. It was an age of recklessness, of living to the fullest and giving up inhibitions. Fitzgerald highlighted the wildness and rebellion of ladies in particular in this story through the ever so lovely, yet heartbreaking character of Judy Jones.

Judy Jones, daughter of the rich Mr. Mortimer Jones, is introduced as a “magnificently unsightly” woman of eleven, who is “predestined” to grow up “to be inexpressibly charming and bring no end of misery to a great number of men”. Not surprisingly, the protagonist, Dexter Green, is predestined to be among these unpleasant guys. The term “beautifully unsightly” can be perceived in varying methods; nevertheless, one such opinion is that the term shows the style or pattern of the age. Judy’s clothes may have offered her the appearance of a rich woman, with her “five small new golf clubs in a white canvas bag”, the products which she is distinctly the one to use however has a nurse to carry for her. Likewise, the conceit she shows through her bad temper; requiring a caddy when there are none available, and attempt to beat her nurse with a golf club, just assists to justify her spoilt and abundant temperament. It is possible that Judy’s apparent wealth is what causes her to appear “stunning” regardless of the ugliness of her age and crude manners.

Furthermore, Judy possesses a “glowing” but “blatantly synthetic” smile– one which Dexter finds “outrageous” and “ridiculous”, yet strikes him as “convincing”. It looks like though he loathes it– the smile– but what he genuinely reprimands is the power it has over him. This smile is consistently pointed out throughout the story. Fitzgerald highlights on its affectation, thus clarifying the truth that Judy’s smile is likewise an outcome of style or pattern, for she smiles in such a way that “her lips twisted down at the corners” and later on as a young woman this smile would be described as: “… less a smile than an invitation to kiss”. Perhaps it was the trend to smile this way, possibly she had actually seen it someplace, and imitated it. Judy does not smile since she really wishes to, but because it is what ladies were doing at the time– hence this particular smile of hers is typically “insincere”.

Judy’s self-confidence is seemingly the work of her wealthy training. On top of that, she has matured in an era of liberation for females. In the twenties, females were excitedly and successfully doing the important things they were disallowed from carrying out in the past. They attained a sort of self-reliance, therefore considerably shifting the role of The New Female from one that was originally considered as simply qualified to higher degrees of understanding such as accomplishing a PhD, to a New Female that might participate in numerous male-dominated activities. The age was considerably more sophisticated, and in this sophisticated age, Judy Jones grows up seeing ladies live to their hearts’ content– specifically the rich, as they enjoy extravagance.

When Dexter fulfills Judy years later on at the very same golf course, Lake Erminie, Judy’s presence is clearly extraordinary, as it is a mainly male site. Her indifference to this shows that she is, in her own method, an activist by breaking gender related conventions. When she inadvertently hits Mr. Hedrick with a golf ball in the stomach, Mr. Hedrick cries, “… they should put some of these insane females off the course. It’s getting outrageous.” These words convey his displeasure of ladies intruding upon this otherwise all-male sport.

In spite of her audacity to display no tip of remorse, Mr. Sandwood, a male just over thirty who was playing golf with Dexter and Mr. Hedrick, said: “Gosh! She’s good looking!” as though her appeal compensates for her distasteful behavior. Mr. Hedrick disparagingly argues that Judy is constantly “turning those huge cow-eyes” in an attempt to seduce “every young calf in town”. This comparison reveals his prejudiced viewpoint that Judy, a female, is like a grown cow that draws all the “young”, innocent males in the area. His ramification that all guys maintained innocence and vulnerability while she dedicates the outrageous act of seduction shows his discrimination towards women.

Fitzgerald’s function of this scene, where Judy is presented for the second time by striking a golf ball into Mr. Hedrick’s abdominal area, is to initiate the criticism which women of the time faced for breaking social standards, by traditional individuals, like Mr. Hedrick, who is old and has lived most of his life prior to this period of flexibility and deserting of inhibitions. Additionally, the twenties saw wildness in females which could not be tamed. Judy represents this, with her numerous beaus and ability to lure them into “playing her video game and not their own”, along with her brazenness to do whatever she wants, such as driving a boat all by herself late during the night. In the twenties, there were lots of ladies like Judy Jones; ladies who embraced a carelessness and smartness to outsmart guys– behavior which, prior to this time, was unacceptable in theory and in actuality.

In general, Fitzgerald’s concentrate on the behavior and attributes of females in the 1920’s has actually made Winter Dreams a stunning read. It has actually successfully illustrated the extremity of females’s liberty and the consequences people deal with on the birth of The New Lady.