The Solitary And The Submerged: The Grotesques In Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg By Abraham Panavelil Abraham
It was the truths that made the people grotesques----the moment one of the people took one of the truths to himself, called it his truth and tried to live his life by it, he became a grotesque and the truth he embraced became falsehood.
The effect is that of Joycean epiphany in which a single gesture, a perception or a bit of dialogue is caught, rendered permanent, and although never interpreted, dissolves into a myriad of implications for the reader. Fundamental to this form is that it shows a life not in process, but revealed by a moment's flickering light in the quintessential meaning. 
1.2 Personal experiences
He [Anderson] believed that life was not measured by the birth and death of individual people; it was rather a broad sweep of human history, forever ongoing, forever changing. Having spent a life time experiencing and interpreting contemporary life he died in the process of exploring it still further-life for Sherwood Anderson remained to the end a limitless source of fascination and constant challenge for intense participation as an artist. 
2.1. Victims of sychic deformity-grotesques
It permits him [the writer] to question torpid habits and vapid norms, and shocks us through creative distortion into some recognition of truths we dare not face. The grotesque as a clown or scapegoat is comic or elegiac, revolting and pathetic. He is a born outsider. 
2.3. Instances of human isolation
Putting the lamp upon the low stool he began to pick up the crumbs, carrying them to his mouth one by one with unbelievable rapidity [WO 34].
---the kneeling figure looked like a priest engaged in some service of his church. The nervous expressive fingers fishing in and out of the light, might well have been mistaken for the fingers of the devotee going through decade after decade of his rosary" [WO 34].
On the trees are only a few gnarled apples that the pickers have rejected--.one nibble at them and they are delicious. Into a little round place at the side of the apple has been gathered all of its sweetness. One runs from tree to tree over the frosted ground picking the gnarled, twisted apples and filling his pockets with them. [WO 36]
2.4. Human isolation that stems from lack of sexual and loving relations
As she looked at George Willard, the passionate desire to be loved by a man that had a thousand times before swept like a storm over her body took possession of her. In the lamp light George Willard looked no longer a boy, but a man ready to play the part of a man. [WO 165]
I will besiege the school teacher. I will fly in the face of all men and if I am a creature of carnal lust, I will live then for my lust. [WO 154]
The ways of God are beyond human understanding. I have found the light. After ten years in this town God had manifested himself to me in the person of Kate Swift, the school teacher, kneeling naked on a bed. [WO 155]
2.5. A moment of revelation
Well, old daddy, come on, advise me. Perhaps you've been in the same fix yourself. I know, what everyone would say is the right thing to do, but what do you say? [WO 205].
There they stood, in the big empty field with the quiet corn shocks standing in rows behind them and the red and yellow hills in the distance and from being just two indifferent workmen they had become all alive to each other. [WO 206]
---That single moment of aliveness-that epiphany, as Joyce would have called it-is the effect that Anderson is trying to create for his readers…. ["Introduction", WO 7)
We feel that each man has revealed his essential being. It is as if a gulf had opened in the level Ohio cornfield and as if, for one moment, a light had shone from the depths, illuminating everything that happened or would ever happen to both of them. [WO 7]
2.6. The initiation of George Willard
"Kate tries to make her students aware of the creative elements in life through an intimate knowledge of arts." [147-148]. She wants to open the door of life to her former pupil. George, however, misunderstands her eagerness, as sexual desire. After the encounter with Kate Swift, George is confused about her intention. In bewilderment he tells himself, "I have missed something Kate swift was trying to tell me [WO 166].
2.7 The grotesques attitude towards George Willard
When, he for the first time takes the backward view of life---. With a little gasp he sees himself as merely a leaf blown by the wind through the streets of his village. He knows that in spite of all the stout talk of his fellows he must live and die in uncertainty, a thing blown by the winds- Already he hears death calling. With all his heart he wants to come close to some other human, touch someone with all his hands---- [WO 234-235]
3.1 Narrative style
--the experimentation with the natural rhythms of American speech that he had conducted in Mid American chants has in Winesburg becomes his major stylistic characteristic, pointing towards his mastery of the reproduction of the oral story telling tradition that halts, digresses, becomes seemingly irrelevant at times, and yet proceeds towards a carefully defined climax and impact. 
3.3. Use of dramatic technique and inference
…one of those rare, little understood men who rule by a power so gentle that it passes as a lovable weakness. In their feelings for the boys under their charge, such men are ot unlike the finer sort of women in their love of men. [WO 31]
3.4 Anderson's use of language
At best Anderson conveys precisely that sense of constriction about the heart and that difficulty of breathing which one gets from the finest lyrics .
There was a kind of poetry I was seeking in my prose, word to be laid against word in just a certain way, a kind of word color, a march of word and sentences, and the color to be squeezed out of simple words, simple sentences construction. (Memories, 243)
The death of her (Mrs. Reefy's) father and mother and the rich acres of land that had come down to her set a train of suitors on her heels. For two years she saw suitors almost every evening. Except two they were alike. [WO 37]
---the charged atmosphere of adolescence with its diffused emotion, uncertain yearning, idealization and emotional explosiveness- and with its alternating cruelty and tenderness is the atmosphere of Winesburg, Ohio. 
3.4 Use of images and symbols
On the trees are only a few gnarled apples that the pickers have rejected. They look like the knuckles of Doctor Reefy's hands. One nibbles at them and they are delicious- only the few know the sweetness of the twisted apples. [WO 36]
Winesburg, Ohio is primarily a book about the 'night world' of human personality. The dim light equates with as well as literally illuminates the limited glimpse into an individual soul- and the briefness of the insight is emphasized by the shutting down of the dark. [24-25]
3.5. Loose form
I am not the one who pecks away at a story. It writes itself, as though it used me merely as amedium- The short story is the result of a sudden passion. It is an idea grasped whole as one would pick an apple in an orchard---. What is wanted is a new looseness: and in Winesburg, Ohio, I have made my own form- life is a loose flowing thing--- (Memoirs, 286& 341).
- Anderson, David D. Sherwood Anderson: An introduction and interpretation. New York: Holt. Rinehart Winston Inc. 1967.
- Anderson, Sherwood. Winesburg, Ohio. 1919. New York: Penguin Books, 1983.
- Anderson, Sherwood. Memoirs. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1952.
- Cowley, Malcolm. “Introduction". Sherwood Anderson: A collection of critical essays. Ed. Walter.
- B. Rideout.Englewood Cliffs. NJ: Prentice Hall, 1974.
- Hassan, Ihab. The Radical Innocence. The Princeton University Press, 1961.
- Stevick, Philip. The American short story 1900-1945: a Critical History. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1984.
- Sutton, William A. The Road to Winesburg: A mosaic of the imaginative life of Sherwood Anderson. NJ. The Scarecrow Press, 1972.
- Taylor, Welford Dunaway. Sherwood Anderson. New York: Frederick Unger Publishing Company, 1977.
- Thurston, Jarvis, “Anderson and Winesburg: Mysticism and Craft”. Accent XVI (Spring 1956):
- Whipple, T.K. “Sherwood Anderson: Spokesman” Modern Writers and America. New York: D. Appleton and Co. 1928.