Winesburg, Ohio Essay

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In the following essay, Murphy categorizes characters according to their "responses to sexual emotion" and follows this theme throughout the entire novel.

One of the bits of learning which students of modern literature treasure up against their examinations is the notion that Sherwood Anderson was an American equivalent of D. H. Lawrence. Indeed, Irving Howe, the critic who has been most insistent upon Anderson's debt to Lawrence, has pointed out that even Anderson's most "sex-centered" work reveals that "for the man who wrote those novels sex was a source of deep anxiety".

Nowhere is the weight and tenor of the evidence for this anxiety quite so impressive as in Winesburg, Ohio, the early work on which Anderson's greatly depleted reputation now almost entirely depends. In that work he displays an extremely hesitant, almost puritanical attitude toward physical sexuality which seems to have been considerably more Platonic than Lawrencian...

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This section contains 3,100 words
(approx. 8 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Winesburg, Ohio Study Guide
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