Through the eyes of young George Willard, the inner lives of many of Winesburg's inhabitants open to us. Before George leaves the community, we have learned much about his mother Elizabeth, his friend Helen White, his teacher Kate Swift and other Winesburg residents — the lonely, sensitive Dr. Reefy, the tormented Rev. Charles Hartman and the enigmatic Wing Biddlebaum among them.
Through Anderson's art, their stories are woven into a powerful portrayal of community life, and, ironically, of the isolation its close atmosphere can engender. A great success on its first publication in 1919, Winesburg, Ohio profoundly influenced a generation of fiction writers with its deeply moving poetic realism. It endures as a classic portrait of American life.