Sample Literature Paper on Reality versus Idealism

Sample Literature Paper on Reality versus Idealism


  1. Scott Fitzgerald writes the story of ‘Winter Dreams’ with a unique kind of mastery of prose. The main character, Dexter Green, has a dream at a young age as the story begins, which flourishes with time but becomes unattainable at the end. The plot and the structure of the story reveal to the readers how idealism is distinct from reality, and we can only live for reality as idealism is just a dream. ‘Winter dreams’ clearly defines the theme of reality and idealism. The reality of the relationships between the characters of the story is miserable, but the idealistic vision of it enables it to progress slowly, but with no eventual success.

Theme analysis

The author is able to voice his opinion on how an idealistic dream can promise what it cannot deliver. People tend to focus on big things forgetting the small things they already possess. Dexter’s dream begins to flourish as his life progresses, but he is unsatisfied. This is a result of the desire that overtakes him to strive for something that he can’t have. Dexter is a victim of his dreams, the adolescent fantasies that he is unable to fulfil. As Dexter searches for love and happiness, his is unwise to let his mind focus wholly on Judy Jones, who instead of providing fulfilment for him, displays affection that attracts Dexter more. Dexter sees Judy as an ideal woman who can offer him a perfect love, but he never sees the reality about her. Judy eventually reveals to him that that she is breaking up with a man who pursued her, because he is not rich. Dexter fails to see the reality of Judy even at this point, as he is blinded by his idealistic view of her.

Although Dexter sees the threat behind Judy’s means of attracting of love, his idealistic view and the uncontrollable attachment he has for her do not allow him to divorce himself from her. When Dexter takes her to a picnic supper, she disappears afterwards with another man, and Dexter is upset about it. From the story, “when she assured him that she had not kissed the other man, he knew she was lying, yet he was glad that she had taken the trouble to lie to him” (127). Also, although he sees the change in Judy’s mode of dressing from the ritual on their first date, it does not strike him that the real Judy is a person he can’t be with. He goes ahead and dumps his fiancée Irene for Judy.

From the start of the story, Dexter is desperate to obtain success and goes ahead blindly pursuing wealth and sophistication. He denies his background and creates himself an obstacle to his personal happiness. Although he finally achieves the golf guest entrance in the country club, he feels out of place, yet feels superior to the captain of the industry. The life of financial ease he once coveted makes him feel an outsider because he has to work for his money. He does not want commitment and chooses the bachelor life, preferring a solitary existence. He convinces himself that he can’t have Judy for a wife, but he can’t stop adoring her. Furthermore, the satisfaction he feels as a rich man drives him to strive to possess Judy, which is impossible. The reality is, he does not love Judy, he wants to possess her, which is unattainable. His idealistic mind is an obstacle to his life, and his persistence with the fantasy that Judy is an ideal woman is shattered when Judy is transformed into a homely wife. The reality is Judy was flawed and human, and not the ideal woman he thought.


The story of winter dreams portrays the theme of idealism and reality, and educates the reader that one should strive for attainable goals and face reality. The reality that Dexter couldn’t face, included his background, the reality of working hard for money, and the reality that Judy was not perfect but just human.



  1. Composition and Literature. McGraw-Hill Learning Solutions, 41791.