Hands Themes

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"Hands" is the first of twenty-three stories in Winesburg, Ohio, and they are all preceded by an introduction of sorts titled "The Book of the Grotesque." In this section, an old man dreams of a series of men and women passing by, a "procession of grotesques." He gets out of bed and writes down their stories. The narrator of "Hands" and the other stories has never seen the old man's writing, but it has inspired him to tell his own stories of grotesques.

The word "grotesque" has been used in art and literature to describe fantastical distortions of human and animal forms. Typically, something that is called "grotesque" is abnormal, ugly, strange. But Anderson is using the term in a special way, and the old man of "The Book of the Grotesque" sees that his grotesques are "not all horrible. Some were amusing, some almost beautiful."

Wing...

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This section contains 828 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Hands Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
Hands from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.