In this post we mentioned Sherwood Anderson’s influence on the generation of writers that followed him and that came to dominate the 20th century literary landscape. But it’s one thing to talk about influence, and another thing altogether to see it plain on the page. Take a look at this passage from Winesburg, Ohio , and tell me you don’t see the pared down language and short-sentence-style that is so commonly attributed to Ernest Hemingway.
"The story of Doctor Reefy and his courtship of the tall girl who became his wife and left her money to him is a very curious story. It is delicious, like the twisted little apples that grow in the orchards of Winesburg. In the fall one walks in the orchards and the ground is hard with frost underfoot. The apples have been taken from the trees by the pickers. They have been put in barrels and shipped to the cities where they will be eaten in apartments that are filled with books, magazines, furniture, and people. On the trees are only a few gnarled apples that the pickers have rejected. They look like the knuckles of Doctor Reefy’s hands. One nibbles at them and they are delicious. Into a little round place at the side of the apple has been gathered all of its sweetness. One runs from tree to tree over the frosted ground picking the gnarled, twisted apples and filling his pockets with them. Only the few know the sweetness of the twisted apples."
It’s amazing, isn’t it? I mean, that paragraph could be something right out of In Our Time.