Doctor Reefy, the subject of the second section, is another of the book's alienated figures. Isolated in his empty office, he tends to a dying medical practice and unburdens his thoughts on scraps of paper. He is suffering from the tragedy of his young wife's death; she offered him a chance to open up, to share himself with others--even if only by reading to her from his scraps of paper. Her passing snuffs out the interpersonal connection Reefy experienced with her.
A pattern that continues throughout Winesburg, Ohio emerges in these initial stories. The death of Dr. Reefy's wife and the end of Wing Biddlebaum's teaching career underscore the contingency of happiness: it exists only temporarily, and always gives way to a sense of loss.