Publication Date

Spring 4-2023


College of Arts and Sciences




Literature, Midwest, American, Sherwood Anderson, Industrialism, Winesburg Ohio, Poor White, Individualism, Ohio


American Literature | American Studies | English Language and Literature | Literature in English, North America


Sherwood Anderson’s literary Midwest reflects many of the idealistic characteristics resulting from the region’s frontier, agrarian origin. The most prominent of these characteristics is the region’s emphasis on and appreciation of human particularity. His novels Winesburg, Ohio and Poor White document the region’s unique relationship with individual particularity and how this particularity clashed with a new industrial lifestyle. The two novels reflect the Midwest’s unique understanding of individuality and offer an explanation for why the region’s response to an industrial cultural overhaul was so damaging for the Midwest’s identity, as the traditional identity was supplanted by an industrial one.