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Sherwood Anderson Life And Influences

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LaBrie 1

Sherwood Anderson's life experiences

And the way they influenced how he wrote

Sherwood Anderson often wrote of other people's misery in his short stories and used it in ironic ways when writing his endings. After reading several of his these stories and reading several biographies of his life, I have come to the conclusion that Anderson's life experiences greatly influence the method in which he wrote them. Also, when comparing some of his stories to his life, you will see that many of them can be closely compared to difficult times in which he went through while growing up and as a grown man.

Sherwood Anderson was born into a rather impoverished circumstance in a small Ohio village named Camden. His father was a heavy drinker and had a particular hard time keeping a job. His mother was a hard working woman with strict religious beliefs and always taught her children to work as hard as they could. Anderson was the third of seven children, making his family large and hard to support.

Anderson was not an exceptional student, but rather was average grade wise. He graduated grammar school and completed nine months of highschool. Anderson was forced to drop out because he needed to work for his family and bring in more income than his mother and two brothers were making. Anderson worked as a laborer in 1896- 1898, then served in the Spanish American War. He attended Wittenburg Academy in Springfield, Ohio, in 1900, then went to Chicago. In Chicago he worked at a produce warehouse, and when he was in his teens he began working as an editor for an advertising agency. In 1904 he began to display unusual talent for success in the mail- order paint business.

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In addition to having financial problems Anderson also had numerous family problems. I believe that this is the reason that Anderson would use love in his stories and have his characters unable to be with that love.

Anderson was first married on May 16, 1904, to Cornelia Lane of Toledo. He fathered two sons, Robert Lane and John Sherwood, and a daughter, Marion with her. On July 27, 1916, Anderson divorced his current wife and married Tennessee Claflin Mitchell on July 31, at Chateaugay, New York. This marriage had many difficulties since Anderson and Claflin did not agree on most things such as business and family life. Because of this, they divorced in 1924, and after this Anderson married Elizabeth Prall.

Elizabeth and Anderson moved to New Orleans and in the summer of 1925 they went vacationing in Troutdale, VA. Anderson liked the Grayson County Area so much that he bought farmland beside Ripshin Creek, and built a house that he named Ripshin. In the fall of 1927, he purchased the Marion Publishing Company, in Marion, VA. He became editor and publisher of two weekly newspapers; articles from were collected in a 1929 book entitled "Hello Towns".

Anderson and Elizabeth separated in late 1928 and in 1933 Anderson married Eleanor Copenhaver. With her he traveled throughout the South, touring factories and studying labor conditions. Because of his tours with her, he began writing about labor conditions in the 1930's.

The four short stories I read by Sherwood Anderson were "Hands", "The Triumph of the Egg"(1921), "The Door of the Trap", and "The Rabbit Pen". I chose three of these ("Triumph of the Egg", "The Door of the Trap", and "The Rabbit Pen") to base my report on.

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In "The door of the Trap", Hugh Walker, a teacher, husband, and father, falls in love with a student of his, Mary Cochran. He invites her to his house and she immediately takes a liking to him and his family. As she grows closer to Hugh and his family, Hugh realizes more and more that he can never be with her because he has responsibilities. One evening he asks her to his room and tells her that he is going to kiss her but after he does, she is to leave and never come back, because they could never be together.

In the story "The Rabbits Pen" a man named Fordyce is walking in a garden and passes by a wire pen. In the pen are baby rabbits and the father rabbit is killing them he yells for help and a tall woman, Gretchen, comes running out of the house and stops



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