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Posted on June 16th, 2012, by

1. Introduction.

“Hands” is the story of an old, little man Wing Biddlebaum who lives almost completely isolated from people in Winesburg. He is a mystery to the most people after moving there twenty years before. He usually sits on the outskirts of the town in his little house and watches the youth. He communicates closely with George Willard only, the boy reporter of the Winesburg Eagle. George is the only person with whom Wing becomes alive, walking into town or talking in a loud voice.

2. Analysis of Sherwood Anderson’s short story “Hands”.

The major character Wing Biddlebaum gives us the first look at the character as a grotesque. It is an ordinary thing for Anderson’s short stories that the grotesque figure becomes old before the time because of the tiring and stressful conditions in which he lives. The moments described in the short story are the moments when the passion tries to break away but all the attempts are vain. The story is a glance at people failing.

Wing’s hands appear as a manifestation of his being grotesque. They are a kind of metonymy when grotesque is understood as odd and strange. The author’s grotesque is one who fails at communication and expression. Wing’s hands can express his feelings – he just does not permit them to do that. More than that, the hands are a symbol of the writer from the prologue. Once Wing’s hands had been the means of expression like a pen in the writer’s hand.

His hands are quick and skillful; the character is talented.

From the marvelous description the reader realizes that Wing is a harmless, sensitive man who is frightened by his inner burning flame. People around do not understand him. The readers sympathize with Wing especially after learning about the conditions which made him move to Winesburg. He advises George to dream and follow his own heart. This resembles the life he had had being a school teacher before the case. The resemblance of circumstances results in his fear and his need to isolate from George.

Nevertheless, Wing fails. He had led a content life as a school teacher until his dreams had been broken. After that, he could not fight back and was almost killed. As a result the moment with George Willard happens and is highlighted in the story. Wing has almost found that life within himself again. Wing can act openly with George.

When Adolph Myers moves to Winesburg and becomes Wing Biddlebaum, he cannot express himself openly through his gestures. This changes when Wing is with George. In his presence, Wing feels naturally. George is the link between reader and grotesque figure, permitting us to look inside of everyone just for a moment and to see the passion.

3. Conclusion.

The paper gives the analysis of Sherwood Anderson’s short story “Hands”. The author skillfully retells the story of an old, little man named Wing Biddlebaum who lives mainly isolated from the town life of Winesburg. Through his hands, the main character expresses himself but people around cannot understand that and treat him awkward and strange.

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