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MonkeyNotes-Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson-Free Study Guide
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STORY 9 - 'ADVENTURE'

SETTING

The setting is in Winesburg, Ohio.

Alice Handman - A woman of twenty-seven, who fell in love with Ned Currie.

Ned Currie - A young man who abandons his sweetheart Alice.

CONFLICT

Protagonist - The main character is Alice, who is devoted to Ned and waits for him all her life.

Antagonist - Ned is an antagonist though not in the deepest sense. He leaves Alice in search of a better job, but forgets her in the hustle and bustle of city life.

Climax - The climax in Alice's life comes when in a fit of rebellion, she must learn to live a life, alone and die alone too.

Outcome - The outcome of this mad action is her realization that she must


THEMES

The theme of a relationship between a man and a woman is depicted. The story deals with a woman's faith in her man, for which she is ready to spend her life waiting for his return. The theme revolves around a woman's thankless faithfulness, and her final acceptance of her lonely life.

MOOD

The mood is depressing and dejected throughout. The reader sympathizes with the woman, yet cannot openly malign Ned, since he had never been as seriously in love as Alice. The final scene evokes a sense of mad abandon, which in turn converts itself to a stoic resignation of the facts of life.

STORY SUMMARY

Alice Hindman, twenty-seven year old woman has lived all her life in Winesburg, working as a clerk in Winney's dry good store. When she is sixteen, she has an affair with Ned Currie. But Ned has left Winesburg to try his luck in the city. Before leaving he promises Alice that he would return for her and take her away with him. However, as time had passes, he, having got caught up with city life, forgets her totally.

Alice in the meanwhile keeps waiting for him, keeping herself aloof from any other social contact. She considers herself already married to Ned, and does not allow any man to come close to her after her father's death, her mother remarries leaving Alice all the more lonely. She starts save money, in the main hope that it will come of use to Ned and herself once they begin life together.

However, slowly, Alice starts realizing the futility of her dreams and hopes, and even ventures out a few times with Will Hurley, a middle aged man. But her heart is not in it, and she puts him off soon.

On her twenty-seventh year, Alice has an adventure. After reaching home, she undresses herself in the darkness, and a strange desire takes possession of her. Without thinking further, she runs downstairs, naked, and begins to run through the streets, in the chill cold night. On seeing a man at a distance, her unfulfilled desire overcomes her and she calls out to him. Mercifully, the man is old and deaf, and Alice doesn't come to any harm. But later in her own room, she weeps bitterly, and resolves to live a life, learning to live alone and die alone, in Winesburg.

Notes

This story of Alice is deep in pathos and guilt complexes. The reader is given a picture of the desolate life of Alice and her unrequited love for Ned Currie.

Ned's behavior pattern cannot be totally considered immoral. His relation with Alice has been superficial; a young man's needs being fulfilled. Of course, on hearing Alice's desire to join him at the city, does touch chord in him. "He had wanted the girl to become his mistress but changed his mind. He wanted to protect and care for her." This care and affection however doesn't last long and it is not surprising that he forgets about her very soon. This lack of concern is all the more pathetic when we see Alice, loving him more and willing to spend her entire life waiting for him.

It is probably Alice's deep-rooted guilt complex about her behavior with Ned that has led her to remain faithful to him. Yet her fervent wish for something to happen in her life, is understandable. Arranging a blanket to look like a form lying beside her bed speaks of her unquenched desires and her need for some form of love and affection. This need takes a turn for the worse, when she runs naked through the streets, and is ready to bed anyone, so that her desires are fulfilled. This Freudian lapse in her behavior speaks for itself. Simultaneously getting wet, in the rain, naked, can be understood as a Baptismal purifying process, a need to cleanse herself from her past and Ned, and begin anew, a life of her own. Yet, here again, her passive nature stops her. But the story ends, with her trying to force herself to face her life bravely, and even to face the idea of dying, all alone, bravely.

CHARACTER ANALYSIS

Alice Handman - Alice Handman is a tall, stooped girl, with a placid demeanor. But underneath this placid exterior lurked a continual ferment of unbidden desires. She is love with Ned Currie and they were lovers upon a time. But Ned leaves the town to seek better prospects and gradually forgets about her existence. Alice is left, waiting for him and growing older and lonelier. At the final scene, Alice's mad dash through the forest naked is an attempt at exorcising her frenzy, but it leaves her cold and resigned to her fate - alone.

Ned Currie - For Ned, Alice is just a girl, whom he is does not deeply care for his forgetting her is not a meanness in his character, but just a fading away of old habits and gaining newer pleasures. She sadly was never important enough for him to keep in his memories.

PLOT STRUCTURE ANALYSIS

The story is a train of events and thoughts in Alice's life. It begins with a flashback of her younger days when she has been in love with Ned and had let him become her lover. The next event is the departure of Ned from the town and her life. The story then gets back to the present and her dejection at being left all alone. The end rises to a climax and then falls back to acceptance of the situation.

THEMES - THEME ANALYSIS

The theme of unrequited love is depicted. Alice's devotion to Ned and her timeless waiting is remarkable. We feel pity for her, at the same time, can't help admiring her fortitude. This love for her remains with her along with the hope that he will return to her.

At the end of the story, the theme of acceptance and resignation has been portrayed. Though her love has not diminished, she has however become resigned to her fate. This stoicism has been portrayed as one of the attributes of womanhood.

STUDY QUESTIONS

Do you sympathize with Alice? Elaborate on your views on the subject.

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