Throughout Winter Dreams, F. Scott Fitzgerald develops the theme of ambition through the main character Dexter Green’s desire to achieve more in life. Dexter is going to college and his father offered to pay his way through a state college. Except Dexter’s dreams had other plans, “They persuaded Dexter several years later to pass up a business course at the State University … for the precarious advantage of attending an older and more famous university in the East, where he was bothered by his scanty funds,” (Ch. 2).
Dexter doesn’t want to be fully dependent on his father throughout his life. He wants to achieve success on his own with no help from others. Dexter wants to be able to give himself the best things in life. Being an independent, self-driven person makes Dexter stand out from the other boys at his college. Those boys are reckless with their money because it is actually their parents’ money. So, Dexter borrowed a thousand dollars and bought partnership in a laundry. “Before he was twenty-seven he owned the largest string of laundries in his section of the country,” (Ch. 2).
Dexter has the mind-set to go and get what he wants out of life. He is smart with the way he spends his money, and he has already surpassed most of the men at his age. He has achieved his goal of being able to take care of himself and in achieving a better future for himself. Dexter has strived to get to a higher class in society in order to have a chance with Judy Jones. Since the first time he saw Judy Jones, he has wanted to be with her. A man named Devlin, from Detroit, came to visit Dexter for business, but they end up talking about how Judy’s life has turned out.
She is married and her beauty is starting to fade. “The dream was gone. Something had been taken from him,” (Ch. 6) Dexter’s life was solely driven by his love for the young, beautiful Judy Jones. His constant chase for Judy made him want to be more in life, in order for her to consider being in a relationship with him. Judy Jones and her beauty were holding the candle to Dexter’s dreams and now the flame was blown out and his dreams disappeared. Through Dexter Green’s yearning for a better life, F. Scott Fitzgerald develops the theme of ambition throughout Winter Dreams.