In a way, Judy Jones is shaped by men who view her as the ideal woman, as they must contort her to fit their fantasy of this vision of feminine beauty and grace. Judy depends on these suitors’ attentions to give her life meaning. Just as Dexter seems out of his element when he becomes part of Judy’s world, Judy too suffers from a kind of displacement. As a child, she adopts the stilted, precocious tone of a daughter of prosperity, and her self-confidence and comportment suggest a maturity beyond her years. Although she is older than Dexter, she addresses him as “Boy,” which reflects not their age difference but different stations in life. When Judy enters adulthood, however, the shallow, immature, and cruel side of her nature becomes clear. Judy’s selfishness, willfulness, and impulse-driven behavior are leftovers from the realm of childhood and belie the polish and sophistication that her adult beauty suggests.
Judy’s lack of humility and inner reserves suggest the negative effects of an overly indulged existence in which she was sheltered from the sting of the real world. Just as Dexter equates professional success with personal validation, Judy sees her radiant beauty as a sign that she deserves great happiness. “I’m more beautiful than anybody else,” she brazenly asserts, “why can’t I be happy?” Judy fails to attain the happiness she seeks because she is unaware of what happiness requires and what path will lead her there. Mired in surface impressions and the flattery that her serial dating provides, she is unable to properly articulate her dissatisfaction. She uses her physical attributes as her sole means of engaging with and interpreting the world. Like Dexter’s, the life she inhabits at the end of the story falls far short of the life she had expected. She is the victim of her malformed impressions of the world and inability to independently discover who she truly is.