Hands by Sherwood Anderson Literary Analysis Essay

1154 Words5 Pages
Hannah Gandelman
April.9, 2014
Literary Analysis on Hands by Sherwood Anderson The short story Hands by Sherwood Anderson is one of the twenty-two stories in the book Winesburg, Ohio. This story specifically focuses on the psychological trauma of a teacher after being falsely accused of molesting his male students. This alone brings up the topics of homosexuality and sex, which was considered scandalous at the time it was published in 1919.Although this is true, it did not stop the public from finding this piece of literature as fascinating. In Hands, Anderson’s form of symbolism, narration, and themes are what make this piece modern and unique. Anderson’s use of symbolism to help convey the meaning of the story is what
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Although he was confused about what happened, he was sure of one thing and that was “that the hands must be to blame”(252). Wing perceives his hands as a symbol of his perceived guilt, or a manifestation of his fears. They symbolize critical turning points in his life, good and bad. He makes them the core of his actions and who is, allowing them to take control of his life. By personifying Wing’s hands, Anderson makes the consequences of their actions the focus point of the story.
An important aspect as to why this story was so well written was because of Anderson’s choice of narration. The point of view that Anderson uses in Hands can be identified as third person limited. Third person limited is a method of storytelling in which the narrator knows only the thoughts and feelings of a single character, while other characters are only presented externally. Although it is told in third person, at one point the narrator is speaking directly to the reader, just like its done in the tradition of oral story-telling, this brings the reader into the “creation” of the story. Twice in the story the narrator says that both the teller of the story and the listener, in this case, the reader, have to become poets, “Let us look briefly into the story of hands. Perhaps our talking of them will arouse the poet who will tell the hidden wonder…”(251). In the beginning of the story the narrator
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