Characterizing "Hands"

Topics: Human Pages: 4 (1266 words) Published: March 25, 2013
King Knight
Honors English Composition
Douglas O’Keefe
March 15, 2012
Characterizing “Hands”
Hands, by Sherwood Anderson, tells the story of forty year old Wing Biddlebaum of Winesburg, Ohio. Wing lives alone and has many social issues that come from deep-rooted emotions of his past. He stays to himself because he fears that if he gets to close to people his caring and kindness will be mistaken for something less appropriate. He has only one friend, George Willard, a reporter from the local newspaper, which comes by ever so often and talks with Wing. Even with George, Wing has to contain himself. Wing has a habit of touching people’s shoulders and heads while speaking to them. If his actions are mistaken he can get into a lot of trouble. Anderson shows us how Wing keeps his true personality contained and has developed inhuman qualities by the way she develops her characters, both Wing and George.

When we first meet Wing, we find a timid aging man in a small field picking mustard weeks. When I read this story, I saw a man in his sixties by the description. He is short, fat, and bald. We know he feels as though he is an outcast or “anyway part of the life of the town”(Hands par. 2) where he lived. Wing is a loner and this begins to develop his character and in some ways becomes his main way of containing his personality. We know that Wing has only one friend, George Willard. George is a reporter for the local newspaper and drops by sometimes to talk with Wing. Wing enjoys the company and the chance to give some of his knowledge and passion, even in small doses, to someone.

Wing Biddlebaum, or Adolph Myers as he was known, was not always a lonely man who picked fields and lived alone. We find that before he moved to Winesburg, he lived in a small town in Pennsylvania where he was the schoolmaster. Wing’s true passion in life was teaching the youth. He developed close connections with his students and would sit hours after classes on the front steps and...
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