Analysis on Sherwood Anderson's a Death in the Woods

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Sherwood Anderson’s “A Death In The Woods”, is a short story about the life and death of an old woman named Mrs. Grimes. The narrator is a man who is recalling this story from childhood. He is haunted by the old woman’s death but it is the story of her life that he needs to tell. Throughout most of the story we are under the impression that the narrator’s memories are fabricated due to the fact that it happened so long ago. The story is rich with details. I believe there are certain occurrences that influenced his memory. As a child, the narrator, along with his brother and a group of men, went into the woods to investigate the old woman’s death. “She did not look old, lying there in that light, frozen and still. One of the men turned her over in the snow and I saw everything” (pg 54). This was the first time the narrator sees a woman’s naked body and it was also the first time he experiences death. For a child this is a disturbing occurrence. Yet, he construes this as something spiritual. “My body trembled with some strange mystical feeling and so did my brother’s. It might have been the cold” (pg 54). It is because he witnesses her death that he becomes haunted by her existence and compelled to tell “her story”. The account of the old woman’s life is very similar to particular events that took place in the narrator’s life. This is where we begin to decipher fact from embellished memories. The old woman worked on a German’s farm. It is implied that she had been sexually abused by the Farmer. “She was a young girl then and scared to death. You see, the farmer was up to something with the girl- she was, I think, a bound girl and his wife had her suspicions. She took it out on the girl when the man wasn’t around” (pg 47). On the last page of the story the narrator states his own comparable account. “When I was a young man I worked on the farm of a German. The hired girl was afraid of her employer. The farmer’s wife hated her” (pg 55). It can easily be decided that...
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