It seems ironic almost, that a quote taken from a previous story by Sherwood Anderson, could later be used as a theme to his preceding novel, Winesburg, Ohio. In Andersonâ€™s piece, Poor White, he stated, â€œall men lead their lives behind a wall of misunderstanding they themselves have built, and most men die in silence and unnoticed behind these walls.â€ In Winesburg, Ohio, this wall building is portrayed in many ways and displayed through many different characters. Alienation, unfulfilled love prophecies, and loneliness are expressed through many of the characters in multiple vignettes to prove the validity of the theme previously stated.
Alienation proves to build walls around the characters Enoch Robinson, Wing Biddlebaum and David Hardy as they manage to estrange themselves from the rest of the town. "Loneliness" describes the fact that Enoch has imaginary friends who allow him to stay in his apartment and live a happy life without ever communicating with real people and these same â€œfriendsâ€ prevent him from ever making real acquaintances. In the first story, entitled "Hands," we learn the tale of Wing Biddlebaum, who, like Enoch, does not have friends, but has secluded himself for a different reason. After Biddlebaum gets accused of a crime he never would have thought of committing, he locks himself up and lives in his own little bubble, away from the rest of Winesburg. Somewhat unlike these .
two though, stands the tale titled â€œGodlinessâ€ a story which includes David Hardy, an outcast who never really thought that he fit in. After being traumatized and alienating himself he finally does something about his uneasiness and moves away from Winesurg. David is probably one of the many characters that lives and dies behind his own secluded wall.