Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson

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“Winesburg, Ohio” by Sherwood Anderson depicts the lives of a handful of Winesburg residents over a number of years. Each story concerns a different character or aspect of a character previously introduced, which provides insight into their grotesqueness. One of these recurring characters, George Willard, serves to link these stories into one cohesive piece. Analyses of these stories identify the character development of George Willard as that of the maturity of a young boy to a man.
The story “Mother” takes one of thefirst glimpses into George Willard’s character. In the beginning of the book, George is in his youth and described as being “awkward” and prone to clumsiness. Like most teens he is reserved and not very affectionate. His father Tom Willard is pushing him towards a career in business, which is rooted personally in his own desire for success and affluence. However, George is uncertain about what he will do with his life and as such is perceived as behaving like a “gawky girl”, that does not “hear when [he is] spoken to”. His mother Elizabeth Willard believes that George is “groping about trying to find himself” and is supportive of his pursuits. By the end of the story George expresses interest in writing and announces his intent to “get out of [Winesburg]”. At this point he only has an undeveloped idea as to what he will do, but “within him there is a secret that is striving to grow”. Ultimately, by the end of the story George decides he will eventually leave town and become a writer.
By “The Thinker”, George Willard has made the decision to become a writer and begins to build his portfolio. He is now a young man and is no longer interested in just “look[ing] at people and think[ing]”, but in producing sophisticated work on adult topics. The initial topic he attempts to write on concerns love. With haste he proclaims that he is “going to fall in love” with Helen White, in order to write a love story. In this momen…