Winesburg, Ohio

by: Sherwood Anderson

"The Book of the Grotesque," "Hands," "Paper Pills"

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.