In Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg Ohio, how is "The Book of Grotesque" grotesque??

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In "The Book of Grotesque," Sherwood Anderson introduces his main character as an old man, the writer, George Willard.  Willard asks the carpenter to raise his bed so that he can see the trees upon awakening. However, the carpenter and the old writer converse so long that the plan to fix the bed is forgotten. So, the writer must use a chair to lift himself into bed:

Perfectly still he lay and his body was old and not of much use any more, but something inside him was altogether young. He was like a pregnant woman, only that the thing inside him was not a baby but a youth. No, it wasn't a youth, it was a woman, young, and wearing a coat of mail like a knight. It is absurd, you see, to try to tell what was inside the old writer as he lay on his high bed...

The writer himself is strange and incongruous--he is a grotesque. his book about the people in Winesburg, Ohio, contains grotesques. "It is the truths that made the people grotesque." This happens because there are psychological tensions in the residents because of inhibitions placed upon them in the small town of Winesburg.

With the above quotes, Anderson describes in general some of the residents of Winesburg, Ohio, who break from the norm and become grotesques because they become fantastic figures or at least strange. These figures will be described in the various stories of the book.

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