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Love and Society, as Seen in Winesburgh Ohio

  • Date Submitted: 11/08/2010 07:57 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 69.8 
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How Love makes modern society Possible,
                              as seen in Winesburg, Ohio

    As seen in the chapter “sophistication” from the novel Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson, the thing needed to make mature life possible is love. Love, which creates powerful intrapersonal bonds, is what makes civilized life possible. In the absence of a god, love fills the void, and gives a body purpose, a reason to look forward to the future.
Many of the characters in the novel are dried up husks, which have lost the fire of their youth. However, as shown in the chapter “Sophistication”, George Willard is different. In the opening scene of the chapter, George is wandering the fairgrounds feeling isolated and unloved, all while yearning to be held in the arms of Helen White. At this point he doesn’t have love, and feels hollow, since he has no one to love or be loved by. The fire in him is sputtering and he broods by himself. He thinks “well, is she going to stay with him all day?” (Anderson 286), referring to the attention she is paying to her guest.   He just wants to be understood by a woman. He was “fast growing into manhood and new thoughts had been coming into his mind.”(286). He wanted more than sex, he wanted understanding, in the arms of a woman.
This whole time, Helen White is entertaining a guest, lavishing attention on him at the fair. While on the surface Helen is engaged, emotionally she is disengaged. Even while feigning interest in her suitor, she is thinking of George Willard. As for the guest, he was just to get attention. In reality “She wanted to drive the instructor away, to get out of his presence” (289). During the day, she acted happy with her companion, but during the nights she longs for something else. Her thoughts turn to George Willard, and how she wanted him “to feel and be conscious of her change in nature.” (289). Both George and Helen are feeling unsatisfied and insignificant at this point. George and Helen both...


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