Writing Assignment 3
Human beings are, in fact, psychologically weak creature. They are easy to sustain an emotional hurt through their life experiences. Sherwood Anderson pieces together the story of peculiar people who suffer from psychological living difficulties in Winesburg, Ohio. Retrospect of past events that have made one experience happiness and enriched one’s life signifies “the pain of memory.” On the other hand, Grotesques in Anderson’s perspective are people who are obsessed over truths with hybrid thoughts of past experiences. Anderson’s Grotesques reveal a deficiency of social communication ability with the mental anguish inflicted by past experiences.
The mechanism of Anderson’s mysterious imaginations indicates re-arrangement of past episodes. “Remembering is not like playing back a tape or looking at a picture; it is more like telling a story” (Corballis 214). In other words, it is to reconstitute one’s several past experiences as a composite of occurrence. For example, a few days ago, I had an amusing dream which is composed of my past episodes. Recalling fragments of the dream, the elements were teammates from track-and-field club in my high school, recreation ground in my elementary school, and a coach with the left side handle. I was training with my high school teammates in my elementary school. Meanwhile, my high school coach was staying on the bus which was parked in a corner of the recreation ground. It was a really weird story and impressive. I miss those periods of my life, but instead of being obsessed by the past, I can turn my eyes to the future. However, in the Book of the Grotesque, the old writer, who looks back upon the days of his youth, also used to have pleasant life, but he is regretting those past memories. Those reminiscences come out as indescribable new stories in his thoughts. He sees those heterogeneous thoughts “as he [grows] somewhat sleepy but [is] still conscious.” Those thoughts are all “truths that [make] the people grotesques” (Anderson). The re-arranged stories in the writer’s thoughts keep the current of time blocking in his mind.
People who are obstinately obsessive about past recollections suffer from “the pain of memory.” In Paper Pills, Doctor Reefy “never [opens] the window” (Anderson) after his wife’s death. This behavior indicates his attitude of mind that he wants to be steeped in the atmosphere which he used to be with her. He also has formed a unique habit of “putting down his thoughts in scraps of paper which become ‘little round hard balls’ in his pockets” (San 143). Giving specific perspective, “in depression, thoughts are focused on the negative evaluation of oneself, which is frequently reinforced by self-blame” (Habermas, Ott, Schubert, Schneider, Pate E123). Adapting this fact to Doctor Reefy’s thoughts would be feelings of regret at a moment for gratification to him. According to San’s analysis, “life in Winesburg, Ohio often tends to move in a circular pattern either by force of habit and custom or by force of sympathetic obedience to the cycle of the seasons to the life of the instincts and impulses in man” (143). Therefore, Anderson’s Grotesques are more likely to behave in risky human condition. In other words, their thoughtless act and remark bring more “the pain of memory.”
Anderson’s Grotesques show a tendency toward a lack of communication and being isolated from their social community. According to Perese and Wolf, social isolation is “the core feature of loneliness as a lack of a close, intimate attachment to another person that is wanted or the lack of desired social relationship” (592). As one of causes of loneliness, Perese and Wolf mention “loss or disruption of relationships” (593). Taking Paper Pills as an example, Doctor Reefy leads a lonely life after the death of his wife, and he spends “all day in his empty office close by a window” (Anderson). He seems to cherish the memory of the decreased.…