In this introductory sketch, Anderson suggests one of the unifying devices of the book which is to follow — for most of the characters of Winesburg are grotesque, or distorted, in some way. All about in the world were the truths and they were all beautiful. These tales made a significant break with the traditional American short story. Parcival cannot be solely sustained by the pyramids of truths he constructs but must share them. Still, the theme of the grotesque is the focus of his writing.
For a time the two men talked of the raising of the bed and then they talked of other things. He spoke dreamily and with his hands and voice tried to convey that dream into the hearts of the young boys. If you try to be definite and sure about it and to live beneath the trees, where soft night winds blow, the long hot day of disappointment comes swiftly and the gritty dust from passing wagons gathers upon lips inflamed and made tender by kisses. Had you come into the room you might have supposed the old man had unpleasant dreams or perhaps indigestion. The book had one central thought that is very strange and has always remained with me. It was the young thing inside him that saved the old man.
Each as he appeared snatched up one of the truths and some who were quite strong snatched up a dozen of them. Perfectly still he lay and his body was old and not of much use any more, but something inside him was altogether young. Often, they would watch a cat sneak into the bakery and the baker throw him out. On this particular evening, George does not come to visit. Wing was only forty-five but looked much older. When she passed he made a noise like a small dog whimpering.
It was his notion that the moment one of the people took one of the truths to himself, called it his truth, and tried to live his life by it, he became a grotesque and the truth he embraced became a falsehood. Perfectly still he lay and his body was old and not of much use any more, but something inside him was altogether young. Anderson was purposely writing in a more simplistic, common American tone and would occasionally replace his prose with a more antiquated or colloquial style. No, it wasn't a youth, it was a woman, young, and wearing a coat of mail like a knight. Much like the twisted apples, metaphors for the twisted truths construed by the Doctor, the thoughts begin as fertile wholes, but become distorted and hide their sweetness. Hundreds and hundreds were the truths and they were all beautiful.
The stories explore the lives of inhabitants of Winesburg, a fictional version of Clyde, Ohio, the small farm town where Anderson lived for about 12 years of his early life. The sadness of sophistication has come to the boy. He looks ridiculous crying with a cigar in his mouth. Her belief in her son rises in part from her notion that since George talks aloud to himself that he must have a passion for life as she once had. He hires a carpenter, another old man and a veteran of the Civil War, to come and raise the bed level with the window. The grotesques are the people who have become obsessed with an idea or mannerism, such that, they have lost contact with their fellow Man.
It did not alarm him. George was sad neither parent understood him. One father beat Adolph and at night, the town came forth to drive him from it, nearly hanging him. His experiences there left an indelible mark on his consciousness—only to re-emerge many years later in this fictional narrative. I will not try to tell you of all of them. George is the book's central character, with connections to several of the others, many of whom feel an urge to confide in him. He was like a pregnant woman, only that the thing inside him was not a baby but a youth.
The brother had died of starvation, and whenever the carpenter got upon that subject he cried. Sherwood Anderson was an American writer who was mainly known for his short stories, most notably the collection Winesburg, Ohio. The carpenter ends up doing the bed his own way and the old writer has to use a chair to get to it. At this moment of expression, 'a look of horror swept over his face,' and we are thrust backward in time where we learn that Wing Biddlebaum is actually Adolph Myers, who was once a very successful teacher in a small Pennsylvanian town. In the bed the writer had a dream that was not a dream. The writer had cigars lying about and the carpenter smoked.
For a time the two men talked of the raising of the bed and then they talked of other things. We notice, however, that the old writer is providing his room with a view, perhaps symbolizing the author's ability to escape his own isolation and see more than most humans can see. Some one of the grotesques had made a deep impression on his mind and he wanted to describe it. She would be like a tigress. If he be an imaginative boy a door is torn open and for the first time he looks out upon the world, seeing, as though they marched in procession before him, the countless figures of men who before his time have come out of nothingness into the world, lived their lives and again disappeared into nothingness. The writer, in fact, led him to that subject. He had lived a content life as a school teacher until his dreams had been dashed.