Winesburg, Ohio

Winesburg, Ohio


Sherwood Anderson

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Doctor Parcival Character Analysis

A doctor who claims that he no longer wants patients. Parcival has a disheveled, off-putting appearance and lives in a tiny, filthy room above a local diner. He seeks out George Willard and tells him the long (and likely embellished) story of his life. Parcival tells George about his difficult upbringing and chaotic family life, even insinuating that he may have had a criminal past. Before becoming a doctor, he worked as a newspaper reporter and trained to be a minister. The older man hopes to inspire George not to make the same foolish mistakes he did. Parcival’s dark past has left him with a resentful, self-victimized attitude to the point that he refuses to help the other doctors in town when a little girl is killed in a buggy accident.

Doctor Parcival Quotes in Winesburg, Ohio

The Winesburg, Ohio quotes below are all either spoken by Doctor Parcival or refer to Doctor Parcival. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Signet edition of Winesburg, Ohio published in 1993.
5. The Philosopher Quotes

“If something happens perhaps you will be able to write the book that I may never get written. The idea is very simple, so simple that if you are not careful you will forget it. It is this—that everyone in the world is Christ and they are all crucified. That’s what I want to say. Don’t you forget that. Whatever happens, don’t you dare let yourself forget.”

Related Characters: Doctor Parcival (speaker), George Willard
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:
11. A Man of Ideas Quotes

“Let’s take decay. Now what is decay? It’s fire. It burns up wood and other things…This sidewalk here and this feed store, the trees down the street there—they’re all on fire. They’re burning up. Decay you see is always going on…The world is on fire. Start your pieces in the paper that way. Just say in big letters ‘The World is On Fire.’ That will make ‘em look up.”

Related Characters: Joe Welling (speaker), George Willard, Doctor Parcival, Wash Williams
Page Number: 90-91
Explanation and Analysis:
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Doctor Parcival Character Timeline in Winesburg, Ohio

The timeline below shows where the character Doctor Parcival appears in Winesburg, Ohio. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
5. The Philosopher
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
Alienation Theme Icon
Doctor Parcival, an unkempt man with an off-putting appearance, takes a liking to George Willard. When George’s... (full context)
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
Alienation Theme Icon
Grief Theme Icon
Doctor Parcival moved to Winesburg five years ago from Chicago, immediately got into a drunken fight, and... (full context)
Grief Theme Icon a buggy accident. While the other three doctors in Winesburg rush to the scene, Parcival refuses to leave his office. No one notices his absence, but George finds the doctor... (full context)