Winesburg Ohio

Published 15 Jun 2017

Sherwood Anderson originally planned to title his book “The book of the grotesque” however his publisher had a suggested to change the title to “Winesburg, Ohio.” Anderson agreed. The theme of the grotesque is the focus Anderson’s writing.

The tone set fourth in the prologue was established by the writer was in order to lead the reader to the type of mood he wanted to adopt. His characters Elizabeth Willard, Alice Hindman, and Elmer Cowley are flawed, ineffectual, and incomplete. The theory of his characters being ruined came from their collection of truth was an interesting philosophy about which he made no pretenses.

Sherwood Anderson calls these characters “The grotesque.” These “grotesque” characte conform, and rebel against the writer’s definition in different ways, their elements of realism is present in the book Winesburg, Ohio. Elizabeth Willard is George Willard’s mother, the hero of the book. The only character who is woven throughout most of the stories in the book. Elizabeth Willard owns the new Willard House however she is drab and worn out. An illness takes the life out of her, though she had been passionate in her youth still retaining life inside. She and George has a deep bond, which they rarely express. She nearly kills her husband Tom
Willard for urging George to be ambitious and hopes that George will be able to express meaning both his parents. Elizabeth has a brief affair with Doctor Reefy. Both are similar souls who could meet and find a release for their emotions and dreams.

Alice Hindman had an affair, as a girl with Ned Carrie who promised to marry her. He leaves town never to return but Alice was unable to give her body to anyone else and so lived in waiting and loneliness for years. She made herself to isolated she would talk herself. She worked at the Dry Goods store to keep busy and at twenty-five, she joined social and religious organizations. She was restless for companion ship, at twenty-seven and ran outside naked. She finally accepted she was going to be alone forever in the end.

Elmer Cowley is the son of Ebenezer Cowley, Elmer helps his father run thier store Cowley & Sons, is frustrated however that he and his family act so queer. Elmer wishes he were normal like George Willard and the rest of town but he tries to tell George and fails. Elmer decides to leave Winesburg town for a city where he can distinguish himself from other people. He tries to talk to George before he leaves and he still cannot express himself so he finally punches George instead. He is proud that he showed George that he is not a queer. Sherwood Anderson believed one should keep the worlds of realism and fantasy separate. The writer did not believe that an author could not write about both or the collision of these worlds however he feared that authors would stay on the subject of realism and fantasy and thus forget about the importance of dreams, idealism, surrealism, and fantasy.

Many have understood Sherwood Anderson as a naturalistic writer. A writer who was the earliest post World War I Evant Garde writers of its kind on account of his exploration of the grotesque and the failings of the modern man in modern society. In Winesburg Ohio, almost every story his protagonist becomes engrossed in a moment in his own story. The moment is very significant and pivotal in the characters life and appears as if it will spur him on to a life changing action. However it never does.

Reference Site:

  • Winesburg, Ohio (The book of the Grotesque) By Sherwood Anderson
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