Monday, September 23, 2013

Winesburg, Ohio : "Adventure"

In “Adventure”, Sherwood Anderson introduces the character of Alice Hindman. Like many of the other characters, such as Wing Biddlebaum, her dreams are taken away at a young age through a series of unfortunate events. In Alice Hindman’s case, she has an affair with an older (married) man named Ned Curie who worked at the Winesburg Eagle and “falls in love”. He promises to come back for her one day as he moves to Chicago, but he forgets about her. Alice, however, cannot forget about Ned and she wastes her life away, waiting for him to come back. Sherwood Anderson makes a point to call her “the girl who had been loved” even though she was the mistress to Ned Curie and not the wife. It’s curious that she receives that title/name even though in reality, Alice had never been truly loved. Everything about their relationship was built on impulsiveness. As their relationship is described, Anderson chooses to give the impression that their affection for one another was all hype. Ned Curie was driven by the excitement of it all: “Alice was then a very pretty girl and Ned Currie took her into his arms and kissed her. He became excited and said things he did not intend to say…” (page 103-104) Alice on the other hand, was in love with the idea of love: “… and Alice, betrayed by her desire to have something beautiful come into her rather narrow life, also grew excited. She also talked. The outer crust of her life, all of her natural diffidence and reserve, was torn away and se gave herself over to the emotions of love.” (page 104) It is curious that even after Ned leaves for Chicago, she continues to be in love with Ned Currie until the age of 27, when she realizes that he isn’t going to come back for her. She clings to the idea and dream that he will come back and create a perfect life for the two of them. Like the other grotesques in this book, Alice Hindman is lonely and alone. To fill the gaps created by the loneliness and Ned’s betrayal, she chooses to cling to her truth. Her “truth” is the fantasy that Ned still loves her and that he will come back for her. And like most of the characters in this book, Alice does nothing to try and change her life. Instead, she waits for an outside force (Ned Currie) to come and save her. It is this idleness and refusal to take up her own destiny that makes her a grotesque. There is also something significant about the use of motifs such as darkness, nakedness, and the window. At the end, Alice realizes that “Many people must live and die alone, even in Winesburg.” When she comes to this realization she had just come back from running outside naked after looking out the window for some time. Her lack of clothing symbolizes her rebirth, while her decision to run outside after looking out the window shows that she is done with waiting for Ned to come back. 

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