Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Sherwood Anderson is described as a man who, despite trying a variety of jobs, marriages, and locales, was dogged by a sense of living an unfulfilled life. Do the unfulfilled characters in his fiction generally have such an awareness? Or do theydiffer from their author in this respect?

What does Anderson gain from using a newspaper reporter as his narrator in Winesburg, Ohio?

Anderson calls his Winesburg characters “grotesques.” Are his grotesques ever likable? Are they ever beautiful?

Each of Anderson’s characters is said to achieve an epiphany, “a special insight or revelation.” What evidence do you see that these epiphanies actually do the characters any good?

Do you see any instances of Anderson’s style being less simple than it seems to be?