Winesburg, Ohio

Capitalism in Sherwood Anderson's "Mother" 12th Grade

In Sherwood Anderson’s "Mother," Tom Willard takes centre stage as the role of the obnoxious, vain husband who shamelessly blames his wife, Elizabeth Willard, for his own unhappiness. He views her with blatant contempt and finds her existence unbearable to the extent that her very presence is regarded as “a reproach to himself.” But for what reason does Tom vehemently loathe his own wife? It is not simply because of the illness that had taken away her spirit and beauty. The only explanation provided to readers to justify his animosity is the superstitious conviction that Elizabeth’s illness is somehow linked to the hotel’s financial decline.

Tom may, indeed, have been a fortune hunter. He had been one of the many “traveling men” who were “guests at her father’s hotel” whom Elizabeth “paraded through the streets with.” It was always evident that Elizabeth would one day inherit her father’s hotel, and on top of that, she had been a beautiful young woman, full of ambition and vivacity. Thus, in addition to marrying a woman of her passion and charm, Elizabeth’s husband would obviously be blessed with the added bonus of inheriting her parent’s business. So it is implied that Tom’s marriage to Elizabeth had not only been explained by...

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