Winesburg, Ohio Essay

747 words - 3 pages

In the novel Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson, women are presented much differently than men. Women are presented as sex objects, powerless, and over-emotional. I will use Louise Trunion, Louise Hardy, and Virginia Richmond as examples to show Anderson's view on women. Also, Wash Williams, George Willard, and Tom Willard are examples of men in Winesburg, Ohio that show it was acceptable at the time to have these views.Firstly, Trunion possesses a much discussed character flaw; she is extremely promiscuous. In "Nobody Knows," George Willard first discovers Trunion's affection for him in a suggestive note from Trunion that states "I'm yours if you want me". Also, the town "whispered tales concerning" Louise. Definitely, this is not a positive characterization. Trunion and Willard proceed to make love with each other yet despite this intimacy Willard has in his heart " no sympathy for her". The fact that Trunion is viewed scandalously by the town and Willard while Trunion's partners were not shamed at all shows a view by Anderson and society at the time he wrote Winesburg, Ohio that female promiscuity was unaccceptable, but for males the view was just "boys will be boys". In truth, this double standard is still present today.Louise Hardy is a second example of Anderson's showing a negative portrayal of women. Her temper was shown by Anderson as being so terrible that "everyone agreed that she was to blame" for the difficulties in her family's life. Anderson also wrote she was "a neurotic, one of the race of over-sensitive women". That statement most certainly shows that Anderson was sexist, or trying to shock the readers of the time. Also, when her son tries to run away, Hardy is displayed as emotionally unstable. This "most peaceful and loving thing" becomes a neurotic person with mood swings.Virginia Richmond is another example of Anderson's treatment of women in Winesburg, Ohio. She is unable to discipline her son as shown when Seth Richmond, when scolded, "looked steadily at [his mother], causing uneasy doubts to invade her mind". When Seth ran away to a fair, Virginia Richmond devised "sharp stinging reproofs" to say to her son, yet after his his explanation, says, "I'm glad you did stick it out"....

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