Sophistication Essay

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In the following excerpt, Ward offers his interpretation of the role played by spoken language and silence in "Sophistication," especially in regard to how they relate to theme and characterization.

Anderson shows the impossibility of the honest communication of feeling by surrounding his grotesques [in Winesburg, Ohio] with a chorus of towns-people whose constant example reveals the meager possibilities of actual speech. The speech of the chorus is nothing but cliches and slogans, the language of the near-official American dogma of success and masculine bullying as it has filtered down to the small provincial town. Implicit in a number of the stories is the belief that most speech is mimicry, that most of the words that people say are imitations of what they have heard others say. Thus George reiterates the military officer's command and Elmer the idiot's foolish saying. The overheard loud chatter of the town is...

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This section contains 1,511 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Sophistication Study Guide
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