The thematic function of George Willard.
George Willard is the most recurrent character in Winesburg, Ohio. He is not the hero, but he appears in 19 out of the 24 stories. Being a reporter George has the chance to meet most inhabitants of Winesburg, Ohio. Along the stories, he develops many similarities with “The Writer“ in “The book of the Grotesque“. George is the only connection to all the characters and Anderson’s own representation in Winesburg. The inhabitants of Winesburg, Ohio are “deformed by their inability to distinguish between appearance and reality”(Anderson’1). They find escape in loneliness, as they are not able to live in a natural world. Loneliness becomes a persistent theme and reaches the climax in the story named “Loneliness”. Enoch Robinson makes a transition from a world, albeit virtual one in New York, to the loneliness of Winesburg. Each character in the collection is lonely and lives an imaginary world built upon his truth. George Willard, aided by his position as a reporter, is the only who links them together and virtually builds the Winesburg community. Many characters are looking for George to tell their story, “to warn him and keep warning him“(Anderson 25). The “grotesques” want to “speak what is in their hearts and thus re-establish their connection with mankind“ (Conner). George, who dreams to be a writer, develops many similarities with the writer of The Book of the Groteque. The citizens of Winesburg, Ohio are “the figures that went before the eyes of the writer”(Anderson 6), “all men and women the writer had ever known“(Anderson 6) and persons who George Willard also knows personally. Both Willard and the writer go very close becoming grotesque and do actually become. George Willard “seems to belong to the grotesques” (Flundernik 1), because “the authorial narrator describes George in much the same way as other Winesburgers“(Flundernik 1). The writer is also grotesque, because “the subject became so big in his...
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