Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson


Length: 1628 words (4.7 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Excellent
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

Despite the fact that there are people who simply do not want to communicate with others, there are those who do not think or know that there are institutions that they can reach out to for help. In the novel Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson, each character sees the world with a different perception of what life should be like, often a distorted perception, and their neurosis is caused by the isolation of the small town. Neurosis is the term for the distress of the mind causing a person to behave socially different from others; it is also seen as abnormal nature. Neurosis includes more specifically depression, mental confusion, dependency, perfectionism, negativity and obsessive thoughts .Usually, neurosis is caused by the common attributes of modernism such as isolation, search for truth, and gender consciousness; in general, modernism is the changes and reactions of the world. Due to lack of communication to the outside world, the people of Winesburg struggle to overcome their unique difficulties by holding in grief and coping life with their own beliefs. Without communication there is no guidance, forcing the individual to form his own misleading truths; one then must cling onto his truths as means of life. However, one can choose to either confront their problems or allow himself to be helpless.
A common form of neurotic behavior is caused by isolation, the separation of one from one or more people. In the short story “Adventure”, the main character Alice Hindman expressed her insanity through actions: “Getting out of bed, she arranged a blanket so that in the darkness it looked like a form lying between the sheets and, kneeling beside the bed, she caressed it, whispering words repeatedly, like a refrain”(101). Alice’s former lover Ned Currie had left to work in the city, and while he was in the busyness he had come across many different people to fall in love with; Alice, on the other hand, was shy and reserved, and because she did not want to let go of her first love, she committed to only loving Ned Currie: “The outer crust of her life, all of her natural diffidence and reserve, was torn away and she gave herself over to the emotions of love”(95). At that rate, Alice continued to wait for Ned to return, only eventually finding her self longing for just someone to be with, and later discovering that she had completely wasted her life over the wait for Ned instead of looking for new love.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson." 123HelpMe.com. 28 May 2017
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=169251>.
Title Length Color Rating  
Essay on Isolation in Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio - Isolation in Winesburg, Ohio       Winesburg, Ohio is a story of lost or nonexistent connections with other human beings. Every character throughout the text has a want, a need, to connect with someone or something. Each individual faces a life of isolation. In most cases the solitary nature of their lives is self-inflicted. This self-punishment seems to be the outcome of a deeply personal hatred towards the characters' perceived differences with the rest of the Winesburg population. This is the fact that elevates Winesburg, Ohio above the rest....   [tags: Anderson Winesburg Ohio Essays]
:: 3 Works Cited
788 words
(2.3 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on Language and Mores in Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio - Language and Mores in winesburg, ohio Language and literature lead parallel lives. What changes most often and most dramatically is the language we use to describe events and feelings that are common to all times. Language shifts, stretches, adopts, and absorbs -- it drops antiquated terms and picks up a few new ones, and you don't have to look far to find novels and short stories grown stale from shaky, outdated prose, from too many neo-tropisms, catch-phrases, and slang with a short shelf-life....   [tags: Anderson Winesburg Ohio Essays] 1165 words
(3.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on The Many Themes in Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio - The Many Themes in Winesburg, Ohio Winesburg, Ohio is a compilation of short tales written by Sherwood Anderson and published as a whole in 1919. The short tales formulate the common themes for the novel as follows: isolation and loneliness, discovery, inhibition, and cultural failure. In order to examine these themes, Anderson's history must be understood and examined to provide illumination upon why Anderson came to such beliefs about human life. Sherwood Anderson was born on September 13, 1876, in Camden, Ohio....   [tags: Anderson Winesburg Ohio Essays]
:: 5 Works Cited
1456 words
(4.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Hollow Words in Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio - Hollow Words in Winesburg, Ohio       Sherwood Anderson, in his masterpiece Winesburg, Ohio was writing against the notion that stories have to have a plot which reveals a moral idea or conclusion. Like the "tales" that Doctor Parcival tells George Willard in "The Philosopher," Anderson's short stories also seem to "begin nowhere and end nowhere" (51). We as readers must, like George Willard, decide if such stories are little more than "a pack of lies" or if rather, "they contain the very essence of truth" (51)....   [tags: Anderson Winesburg Ohio Essays]
:: 4 Works Cited
1876 words
(5.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on An Analysis of Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio - 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)....   [tags: Anderson Winesburg Ohio Essays]
:: 6 Works Cited
2012 words
(5.7 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on The Synecdochic Motif in Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio - The Synecdochic Motif in Winesburg, Ohio       The sum of the parts of the vignettes of townsfolk of Winesburg, Ohio is greater than the whole novel. Winesburg, too, is only one town in all of Ohio, which is one of a host of states in the U.S. This magnification is at the heart of the novel, in which synecdoche is the main lens through which Sherwood Anderson allows us to regard the grotesques. This narrow aperture of perception does not compromise full characterization, but instead forces the reader into searching for subtle connections within and across the sketches....   [tags: Anderson Winesburg Ohio Essays]
:: 3 Works Cited
1774 words
(5.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Fading Away in Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio -       The final sentence of Winesburg, Ohio imprints the image of the town fading away as George Willard departs for the city. In fact, to view the novel in larger units, the final chapter is conspicuously named "Departure," and for any reader who bothers to take in the table of contents page before starting the book it is fairly easy to deduce how Winesburg, Ohio will end before it even begins. The notion of escape from the town of Winesburg is common throughout the book, and the intended destination for escape is usually some undefined "city." As a recurring element, however, it fits into a broader theme of the novel, that of a need for change in general....   [tags: Anderson Winesburg Ohio Essays]
:: 5 Works Cited
2088 words
(6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson Essay - Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson George Williard's decision to depart Winesburg in Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson is comparable to George Milton's decision to leave the ranch in Of Mice of Men by John Steinbeck. Several factors activate Williard and Milton to depart, and one reason is they both long for a more fulfilling life. Also the voiceless people around Williard and the vulgar people around Milton drives them away. Finally the death of Elizabeth Williard pushes George Williard all the way out of Winesburg, and the death of Lenny Small gives Milton a final reason to leave the ranch....   [tags: Papers] 536 words
(1.5 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Essay about Truth and the Urban World in Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio - Truth and the Urban World in Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg Ohio exhibits a pattern in which withdrawal and return from the urban world into a ‘green’ or natural world occurs. While withdrawn into nature characters commonly undergo a period of contemplation, followed by a return to the city. Repeatedly the characters of Winesburg, Ohio play out this scenario of withdrawal and return. This forges a convention that Anderson uses in conjunction with the narration to address the discontent of the individual in the modern world....   [tags: Papers] 1593 words
(4.6 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Isolation in Winesburg Ohio and Death in The Woods Essay - 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....   [tags: Winesburg Ohio Death Woods Essays] 2170 words
(6.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]

Related Searches




After gradually realizing her loss of time, she had already grown old and could not fathom that time will not return. The thought of the impossibility drove her mad as she felt cheated of life and love. Nevertheless, everyday Alice was given the chance to find a friend who she could speak to, someone whom she would not have to be afraid of falling in love with.
Enoch Robinson was another who isolated himself from the outside world, but for the reason of self-doubt: “Then he began to doubt his own mind. He was afraid the things he felt were not getting expressed in the pictures he painted… he stopped inviting people… and presently got into the habit of locking the door”(154). Enoch was a painter who did not agree with others’ interpretations of his artwork; at the same time, he did not know how to express his own thoughts to the others about his artwork, selfishly believing that no one would ever understand him:
The mild, blue-eyed young Ohio boy was a complete egotist, as all children are egotists. He did not want friends for the quite simple reason that no child wants friends. He wanted most of all the people of his own mind, people with whom he could really talk, people he could harangue and scold by the hour, servants, you see, to his fancy.(155)

This is an act of defiance which causes the separation and loneliness; he did not want people who do not have the same perceptions and he did, and it is quite unlikely that one can easily find someone of the same type. Enoch happened to be in that situation of lack of similar companions. Surprisingly, he later married because “He began to get lonely and wanted to touch actual flesh-and-bone people with his hands”(155). One may think that he has surpassed his childish stage, but later on, he found himself “choked and walled in by the life in the apartment, and to feel toward his wife and even toward his children as he had felt concerning the friends who once came to visit him”(156). Enoch’s incompetence to accept others as they are or to change his views prevent him from being in agreement with anyone; he felt that his wife and children did not understand him as the artists who visited did not understand him. This only aggravated his loneliness. His attempts to lead people into his life in hopes of similarities in thought was declined repeatedly, so soon he began to have imaginary friends who are very much like he is. “And Enoch was happy. Into the room he went and locked the door. With an absurd air of importance he talked aloud, giving instructions, making comments on life”(157). His fantasy ascertains his insanity; he finds companionship in a very abnormal manner, but because he expects too much of how others should be, this is his only choice to keep him content. In the end when Enoch was old, he invited the Winesburg’s news writer George Willard to his place, thinking that perhaps George is very well-rounded and would understand Enoch. George listened intently as Enoch hoped, but again Enoch became inundated with self-doubt and sent George out the door. Enoch concluded of his apartment that “it was warm and friendly in my room but now I’m all alone”(162). One grieves when he cannot achieve his fancy. This man could not find what he truly wants, but perhaps Enoch should grow up and learn to commit.
The short story “Hands” portrays Wing Biddlebaum’s sadness and confusion of his very own hands. He did not go crazy, however, as the two previously described characters had. Biddlebaum’s case was mild, for he did not mentally deteriorate. Biddlebaum was a school teacher who spoke with hand gestures and was very fond of his male students:
Here and there went his hands, caressing the shoulders of the boys, playing about the tousled heads… In a way the voice and the hands, the stroking of the shoulders and the touching of the hair were a part of the schoolmaster’s effort to carry a dream into the young minds… Under the caress of his hands doubt and disbelief went out of the minds of the young boys and they began also to dream.(13)

Accordingly he was only expressing hopes and dreams for the boys and he does that through his hands. The trouble arrived when “a half-witted boy of the school became enamored of the young master. In his bed at night he imagined unspeakable things and in the morning went forth to tell his dreams as facts. Strange, hideous accusations fell from his loose-hung lips”(13). In a society where homosexuality was not tolerated, the townspeople automatically saw Biddlebaum as someone who simply did not belong to this world. He was taunted by the boy’s father and felt like a grotesque. Biddlebaum did not intend to offend anyone sexually, so he was baffled:
Going into his house he cut slices of bread and spread honey upon them… in the darkness he could not see the hands and they became quiet. Although he still hungered for the presence of the boy, who was the medium through which he expressed his love of man, the hunger became a part of his loneliness and his waiting. Lighting a lamp, Wing Biddlebaum washed the few dishes soiled by his simple meal and, setting up a folding cot by the screen door that led to the porch, prepared to undress for the night.(15)

Biddlebaum’s hands contradict themselves as they are what completed tasks to carry him through his life, and yet the hands were what brought him the trouble of the accusation of homosexuality. At the end, Biddlebaum lived as a lonely man because society did not accept him for who he is, at the same time having misinterpreted his actions. Biddlebaum’s depression indicates a neurotic change in his mind. Although society is very controlling, Biddlebaum had allowed for the misinterpretation of his sexuality take over his life. Had he fought for righteousness he may have had the chance to break free from the prison he was sent to for the rest of his days.
All three of these characters experienced their neurosis from loneliness: Alice’s single-minded love, Enoch’s selfish perceptions, and Wing’s misunderstood actions. In small, undeveloped towns such as Winesburg, the residents are used to holding in their thoughts and feelings because the area is remote. In this world, some are like Alice; they simply do not know that they can reach out for love and guidance until it is too late. Then there are those who are like Enoch; they are so caught up in their own minds that anyone else’s thoughts seem wrong to them. Lastly, there are many like Wing who are defeated of their reputation but do not clearly understand why; society’s conformity is a movement so big that the minority is swept away under the rug, tormented by the fact that they have no choice but to contemplate within their minds. It is the lack of communication that leads these characters to depression because they have no guidance of the right mind.


Return to 123HelpMe.com