Sherwood Anderson's "Winesburg, Ohio" Book Review by LauraSue

Sherwood Anderson's "Winesburg, Ohio"
Looks at the use of mythological archetypal symbolism in Sherwood Anderson's "Winesburg, Ohio".
# 153463 | 2,910 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2005 | US
Published on Jun 04, 2013 in Literature (American) , Religion and Theology (Christianity)

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This paper explains that, although Sherwood Anderson's "Winesburg, Ohio" appears to be a compilation of numerous unconnected stories, mythological archetypes bring the stories in the book together. The paper explores the book's unifying theme, which is the initiation of George Willard, the inexperienced writer employed at the Winesburg Eagle, into the cultural environment of Winesburg. The paper further reviews various stories within the book, demonstrating how the many mythological archetypes present universal human moral messages that transcend space and time.

From the Paper:

"The similarity to the Christian trial and execution of Jesus is uncanny. Anderson depicts Wing Biddlebaum as an imprisoned bird whose hands beat restlessly. Because of his frightful doubts of himself and his hands, he becomes a grotesque, too. Like the weeds, Wing Biddlebaum's growth in society is stifled by his own view of himself and the view of others. He is seen by the other town's folk as strange and different. But, when George Willard befriends Wing, and Wing confides in George, Wing is "like a fish returned to the brook by the fisherman" . Wing forgets his doubts and embraces the Christian emotion of love and brotherhood, the emotion he has repressed since being falsely accused of inappropriately handling his students. The fisherman is an archetype of Jesus, who joins together a people in a common faith.
"Later in the story, Wing dreams of returning to a pastoral Eden, "where young men came to gather about the feet of an old man who sat beneath a tree in a tiny garden and who talked to them." Like the tree of the mustard seed that houses the birds of the world, the tree of Christianity houses a people. And, in Christian ideology the tree is redemptive and forgiving."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Abrams, M. H. A Glossary of Literary Terms. 8th ed. Contr. Geoffrey Galt Harpham.Australia: Thompson, 2005.
  • Anderson, Sherwood. Winesburg, Ohio: Text and Criticism. 1919. Ed. John H. Ferres.New York: Penguin, 1996.
  • Guerin, Wilfred L., Earle Labor, Lee Morgan, Jeanne C. Reeseman, John R. Willingham.A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature. 4th ed. New York: Oxford, 1999.
  • Rosenberg, Donna. World Mythology: An Anthology of the Great Myths and Epics. 3rd ed. Lincolnwood (Chicago): Contemporary. 1999.
  • b5/Arc

Cite this Book Review:

APA Format

Sherwood Anderson's "Winesburg, Ohio" (2013, June 04) Retrieved April 08, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Sherwood Anderson's "Winesburg, Ohio"" 04 June 2013. Web. 08 April. 2020. <>