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Hopefully, you’ve made it through the three stories we’re reading from Sher

by | Jul 29, 2022 | Literature | 0 comments

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Hopefully, you’ve made it through the three stories we’re reading from Sherwood Anderson’s Novel/Short Story Cycle, Winesburg, Ohio. I love these works, but I understand that some of you won’t. They’re so modern; so psychological in nature. In fact, you may even wonder if there is a plot. Yes, there is. It’s just symbolic in nature.
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One thing that is important to Anderson is the notion of the “Grotesque.” All of his characters are grotesque in some way. He would argue that we all are. By grotesque, he isn’t speaking of some horror movie feature. Don’t mix it up with gross, either.
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Think of these “grotesques” as people who are warped — if not physically, then spiritually and emotionally — by their “truths,” their circumstances, their personality. Their lives, whether deliberately or not, are wrapped grotesquely around some idea, distorting them perhaps, but, just as in reality, leaving a secret pocket of sweetness. though interested in the idea of the “grotesque,” it seems the narrator himself prefers the gentle moments of humanity. The idea of the “grotesque” allows him — and hopefully us — to view these isolated, lonely, strange, twisted people with understanding and (hopefully) love.
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You can jump in a few different ways here. Content-wise, what story did you like most? Who did you hurt for? Personally, Alice breaks my heart. Her undying love is her grotesque feature. She cannot move on from her past, and then it’s too late. She’s alone, seemingly invisible, and heartbroken. You may not fully understand that story, but think of the symbolism of her nudity. She tries to be reborn, to be seen. It’s just cruel irony or dumb luck. I know other people feel awful for Wing, his gentle nature, and the way he speaks/interacts with his hands (expressive hands are his grotesque). Does he deserve his fate? Some even sympathize with Elizabeth’s helicopter parenting, loneliness, and rage. What do you think?
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Secondly, if you were in this book, what do you think your grotesque characteristic would be? In other words, what is your essential quality, good or bad, that could help you or destroy you? Maybe you’re arrogant in a charming way, timid in an endearing way, reckless, etc. We all have a lovable flaw. Mine is that for some reason, I think I can help or fix toxic people. This puts me emotionally difficult situations at times.

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