Essay about Isolation in Winesburg Ohio and Death in The Woods
2171 Words9 Pages
Isolation in Winesburg Ohio and Death in The Woods
In 1919, Sherwood Anderson composed his work Winesburg Ohio, which depicts the inner lives of small-town America. Anderson’s fascination to explore what’s beneath the surface of human lives results in another story in 1933 called “Death In The Woods”. These two works, incidentally, share a common theme of isolation. The characters in these works, are portrayed as “grotesques” or people who live their lives by one truth, thus living a life of falsehood and isolation from the rest of the world. This essay will examine the theme of isolation in the two works described, and will also relate it to Anderson’s idea of the “grotesque”.
In Winesburg Ohio, the reader is first…show more content…
These short stories are linked through the character of George Willard, who is essentially the main character. Because of this, Winesburg is considered a Bildungsroman, the character development of George “the artist” to George “the man”. His development occurs through his contact and dealing with the characters in the stories. Each character offers something new in his development, as in advice or wisdom. These “grotesques” rely on George to take notice of their isolation and falsehood, in hopes of George publishing their “truths”: Each in turn comes forward to offer his secret (the material of art)
And to give up whatever fragmentary wisdom he may possess Toward the development of the artist who will be the spokesman.For everyone.” (Fussell, p.111). So, it is through these encounters with George that the reader is introduced to the strong sense of isolation and underdevelopment the characters possess.
The first example, is in the story “Hands”. Here, the character of Wing Biddlbaum is introduced, and right from the start, appears to have isolated himself from the rest of society. “Among all the people of Winesburg but one had come close to him.” (p.27). This one person, is of course George Willard, who is portrayed in this first story as a friend of Wing Biddlbaum. George is someone he can talk to, break free temporarily of his isolation. In addition to talking openly with George enthusiastically, he also was very expressive and active
An Analysis of Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio Essay
1999 Words8 Pages
An Analysis of Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio
Under the guise of simplicity, Sherwood Anderson weaves an intricate tale of man's struggle for understanding and love in Winesburg, Ohio. Against a backdrop rich with symbolism, he examines man's truths crumbling behind the walls he has built.
Anderson employs a strong use of symbolism in "Adventure." Waiting in vain for a self-made fantasy to realize, Alice Hindman sacrifices a meaningful life within society. Alice's "outward existence appears to run steadily downhill into dull meaninglessness, her inward life climbs with increasing intensity toward a climax of desperation and hysteria" (Joselyn 450). The intensity, "a passionate restlessness," forces Alice to realize that she…show more content…
Twisted apples, rejected by the pickers, are like the misunderstood misfits rejected by society; underneath they are just as wonderful and yet "only a few know the sweetness of the twisted apples" (Anderson 36). Paper pills, the unspoken ideas of Doctor Reefy, are doses of medicine he cannot prescribe. Another object, money symbolizes the means for freedom or control. Elizabeth Willard's father, on his death bed, gives her eight hundred dollars. Hoping she will "take it and go away" he pleads with her to keep silent about the money (Anderson 225). Ironically, the very symbol of freedom remains hidden behind a wall, although she struggles in silence to reveal its location and purpose. In "Drink," Tom Foster's grandmother finds money and purchases tickets to escape a city filled with "ugliness and crime and lust" (Anderson 215). Arriving in Winesburg, a bustling town different from the small village of her childhood, she wonders if she has made a mistake. Money did not provide the freedom she sought. Money played an important part in Doctor Parcival's relationship with his brother. His brother controlled the family with his money and the bitterness remained with the doctor throughout his life. Jesse Bentley hungered for what money represented: control, a means for "mastering the souls of his people" (Anderson 67). The comparison between the Willard Hotel and the owner, Tom, is another example of Anderson's use of symbolism. The building is aging, the wallpaper fading.