This is a short story by author F. Scott Fitzgerald. It first became published in 1922 in the Metropolitan Magazine. It was later made part of a collection in 1926. It is seen as one of Fitzgerald’s finest works and preceded his novel “The Great Gatsby.”
A Brief Overview of the Plot
The plot begins with Dexter, a 14-year-old, working in a golf club as a caddy. It is winter, and this affects him by giving him hallucinations and poor moods. He gets to meet Judy Jones, a spoilt 11-year old who seems unattractive but her beauty will emerge when she gets older. She demands that Dexter serve to be her caddy. Dexter decides to quit instead of serving her.
When Dexter gets to be 23, he has already developed a thriving laundry business. He is determined to be wealthy, not just be close to wealth. He joins the golf club and lives his fantasy of beating Hendrick at it even though Hendrick was a poor golfer. He reencounters Judy, who still maintains her attitude. She is now beautiful, and Dexter becomes enchanted at once. Dexter drives her boat while she surfs, and they build a connection. Judy asks him out to dinner and Dexter comes to learn that she does not love the man she is involved with since he lied about being wealthy. They kiss after Dexter’s wealth enchants her. Dexter is determined to be with her even though there were several suitors. Dexter gets engaged to Irene, with the hope that it will attract Judy’s interest again. Judy tells him that she wishes he would instead marry her. Dexter gets into a relationship with her.
The relationship lasts only a month, and Dexter loses Irene and the connections he had with her family. He realizes that Judy is unattainable even though he loves her. He puts his business up for sale and goes off to war to bury his feelings. After seven years, he learns that Judy is in an abusive relationship and that she had lost her beauty. Dexter realizes that the girl whom he once fell for no longer existed.
During his youth, Dexter had many opportunities and was idealistic about life. When he got old, there were fewer opportunities. Judy lost her beauty, and Dexter lost his ideal woman, whom he had dedicated his life to. Dexter ends up being sad, like Gatsby.