Growing Up, An Analysis Of Isolation In Winesburg, Ohio.

2153 words - 9 pages

The back cover to the Viking Critical Library Edition of 'Winesburg, Ohio' by Sherwood Anderson reads: "'Winesburg, Ohio' is Sherwood Anderson's 1919 volume of interconnected stories about an ordinary small town whose citizens struggle with extraordinary dreams and grotesque disappointments" (Back cover; Viking Critical Library Edition of 'Winesburg, Ohio' by Sherwood Anderson, edited by John H. Ferres, Viking Press, 1996). The novel by the North-American writer is a collection of short stories, about the life, emotions and feelings of the townspeople of a fictional 1890s town. Emotions that sustain throughout the whole of 'Winesburg, Ohio' are isolation and loneliness, "particularly as these emotions take their source from failure of affection or of creative expression" (Edwin Fussell,'Winesburg, Ohio': Art and Isolation; The Achievement of Sherwood Anderson edited by Ray Lewis White, Chapel Hill Books, 1966). Furthermore an unknown author states that "The figures of 'Winesburg, Ohio' usually personify a condition of psychic deformity which is the consequence of some crucial failure in their lives. Misogyny, inarticulateness, frigidity, God-infatuation, homosexuality, drunkenness - these are symptoms of their recoil from the regularities of human intercourse" (unknown author, http://www.studynet.com/novels/winesburg/isolation/).Failure of communication, the incompetence of self-expression and the universal condition of loneliness and isolation are emotions that tie together Sherwood Anderson's compilation of short stories, as well as the tale of the book's main character George Willard, who in the end will learn to accept these emotions and thus achieves maturity. Being the town's newspaper reporter, George becomes the person of contact for most of the town's citizens who suffer from isolation and loneliness. Therefore I am going to analyse how isolation manifests itself within Sherwood Anderson's novel 'Winesburg, Ohio'. I will do so by showing how the characters from the book became so-called "grotesques" and by trying to define their failure of communication, resulting in isolation, followed by an outline of George Willard's relation to the people of 'Winesburg, Ohio'. Thirdly I want to follow George's process of growing up, of avoiding to become a "grotesque" resulting in his finally being able to find tranquillity.In the first story of 'Winesburg, Ohio', "The Book of the Grotesque" (pages 5-7), the townspeople are referred to as 'grotesques'. Malcolm Cowley, in his introduction to 'Winesburg, Ohio', defined the 'grotesques' as "solitary persons whose lives have been distorted by their inability to express themselves" (Malcolm Cowley, Introduction to 'Winesburg, Ohio'; Viking Critical Library Edition of 'Winesburg, Ohio', edited by John H. Ferres, Viking Press, 1996). The loss of creativity in the use of the body and ineffectuality of thought prevent the "grotesques", from communicating their love. These shortcomings isolate the townspeople,...

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