In “Winter Dreams,” Fitzgerald’s descriptions of the sun reflect Dexter’s state of mind. At the beginning of the story, Dexter “squints” up at the sun’s “hard dimensionless glare”—the sun is bright and glorious, not unlike Dexter’s vision of his own future. Later, after his illusion of Judy’s eternal beauty is broken, the sun takes on a dull aspect (“sinking in dull lovely shades of pink and gold”) before disappearing altogether, leaving only “the gray beauty of steel.” This reflects Dexter’s dawning realization that his vision for his future has been misguided and has left him unfulfilled. Furthermore, Dexter’s observation that the setting sun is “pink and gold” is reminiscent of the colors he had associated with Judy—“her bathing suit, which consisted apparently of pink rompers,” and the gold she wears when they reunite at the university club (“cloth of gold,” “gold in a band at her head, gold in two slipper points at her dress’s hem”). Dexter’s conflation of the sun and Judy underscores that, whenever Dexter notices the sun, he inflects his description of it with whatever is on his mind.
The Sun Quotes in Winter Dreams
A sort of dullness settled down upon Dexter. For the first time in his life he felt like getting very drunk. He knew that he was laughing loudly at something Devlin had said, but he did not know what it was or why it was funny. When, in a few minutes, Devlin went he lay down on his lounge and looked out the window at the New York sky-line into which the sun was sinking in dull lovely shades of pink and gold.
The dream was gone. Something had been taken from him. In a sort of panic he pushed the palms of his hands into his eyes and tried to bring up a picture of the waters lapping on Sherry Island and the moonlit veranda, and gingham on the golf-links and the dry sun and the gold color of her neck’s soft down. And her mouth damp to his kisses and her eyes plaintive with melancholy and her freshness like new fine linen in the morning. Why, these things were no longer in the world! They had existed and they existed no longer.
For the first time in years, there were tears streaming down his face. But they were for himself now…. The gates were closed, the sun was gone down, and there was no beauty but the gray beauty of steel that withstands all time. Even the grief he could have borne was left behind in the country of illusion, of youth, of the richness of life, where his winter dreams had flourished.