If there is a central character in “Winesburg, Ohio,” it would have to be George Willard. He appears in almost all the stories, either as the main character of the story or mentioned in the other stories somewhere. Working on the town newspaper, The Winesburg Eagle, the people view him as a connection to all of them, since he knows everyone from his stories and articles in the newspaper. He also is the son of the rooming-house in town, and knows all the people who travel in and out of Winesburg.
This connection that the people of the town have with George not only affects them, but George as well, and he learns about life from them just as much as they do from him. Additionally, in the story “Departure,” where George is leaving Winesburg to continue with his life, Anderson sums up George and the relationship with the people of the town: “…his life there had become but a background on which to paint the dreams of his manhood.”