Winesburg, Ohio


At the end of "Queer," George is struck by another member of the Winesburg community, Elmer Cowley. What is it about George that makes him the target of such abuse?

The word "queer" has changed in meaning since the writing of Winesburg, Ohio. Describe what you think the word meant then.

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Elmer feels that he and his family have been slighted and treated poorly by the Winesburg community;

Like one struggling for release from hands that held him he struck out, hitting George Willard blow after blow on the breast, the neck, the mouth. The young reporter rolled over on the platform half unconscious, stunned by the terrific force of the blows. Springing aboard the passing train and running over the tops of cars, Elmer sprang down to a flat car and lying on his face looked back, trying to see the fallen man in the darkness.

Pride surged up in him. ‘I showed him,’ he cried. ‘I guess I showed him. I ain’t so queer. I guess I showed him I ain’t so queer.’ (185)

Queer is this context means that Elmer and his family aren't any different than anyone else in the town.


Winesburg, Ohio

In the time the novel was written the word "queer" referred to someone who was "odd." Queer actually still means "odd."

Thanks Jill D for the help.


You're welcome! Have a great day!