Analysis Of Narrator: Applying Literary Due Diligence To Sherwood Anderson’s “Hands”

844 words - 4 pages

Nothing could be more audacious than to claim a narrator is unreliable just to make a story more palatable to oneself. The accurate way to interpret any literature is to pay attention to the details. If the text contradicts your claim, then your claim is wrong. It’s not a relativist issue; people can be absolutely incorrect in this situation. The text directly contradicts the assertion that the narrator in Sherwood Anderson’s “Hands is a random townsperson; however, that topic was broached during a class discussion. Since the text refutes the townsfolk narrator gaffe, any interpretation that claims the narrator is over-exaggerating the molestation incidents is equally refuted. This is due to ...view middle of the document...

Misreading a story will only harm the readers themselves, so literary due diligence is an aptly named but fabricated phrase. The only way for any narrator’s bias to have an effect is if they reader isn’t doing their literary due diligence. It should be fairly obvious when the narrator of “Hands” is sugarcoating details in favor of Adolph.
If one were to do their literary due diligence, then they would realize that the narrator is biased towards portraying Adolph in a positive light, e.g., “The story of Wing Biddlebaum’s hands is worth a book in itself. Sympathetically set forth it would tap many strange, beautiful qualities in obscure men” (1940). It is only logical to assume that the situation is worse than what the narrator is wanting to describe. An incident where his biased telling should be questioned is when the narrator describes a young lad imagining up unspeakable things and telling his dreams as facts; the narrator is showing his bias towards showing Adolph in a positive light (1941). When the story is read in its earlier form, the sexuality of Adolph is apparent. The following line in Norton has been vastly revised from the original: “He was one of those men in whom the force that creates life is diffused” (1941). The original line reads as follows: “He was one of those men in whom sex is diffused, not centralized”. (The Masses pg 5). One would have to ignore both the diction...

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