According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, "grotesque" is defined as "very strange or ugly in a way that is not normal or natural; extremely different from what is expected or usual." Grotesque describes each individual throughout the short stories of Sherwood Anderson's 1919, Winesburg, Ohio. Anderson uses a collection of "grotesques" to build our understanding of the town, a small mid-west town on the background of the Industrial Revolution. This was a time period when city life gradually transitioned to town life for most people, and the people in the towns faced all kinds of emotional and psychological problems. A town is more than a place comprised of the people who live in it. The character of a small town is formed and developed by the people who live in that town. Small towns across America have always had a personal identity all their own. The gossip, the troubles, the decisions, the accomplishments, and the stories of all the people who make up a small town, define the small town, and that has never changed. .
Although each story seems to have a different theme and meaning, each individual invoked in Anderson's short stories has a problem that results from seeking the truth. Anderson does a wonderful job illustrating each characters truth and the effect that truth has on each and every individual and their entire life, which results in the truth of the town. Even though the truth is different to everyone in the town, it has the same emotional and physiological effect on each person, and this is a connection of the people and the town. It is clear that each character feels lost, anxious, incomplete, and unable to live in reality. Each character also has an unhealthy need and desire to connect with someone or something. George Willard, a reporter for the Winesburg Eagle, which allows him to connected with a vast range of individuals. George quickly becomes the companion and confidant for each character.