Winesburg, Ohio

Winesburg, Ohio

by

Sherwood Anderson

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Winesburg, Ohio can help.

Elmer Cowley Character Analysis

A newcomer in town, Elmer is a young merchant whose family owns the Cowley & Son’s store in Winesburg. The Cowley family is branded as “queer” due to the bizarre array of things they sell in their store as well as their strange behavior and manner of dress. Elmer is an awkward teenager who is tall and lanky with protruding teeth. He feels ostracized by the townspeople of Winesburg and blindly pins his frustrations on George Willard, whom he views as representative of the town that alienates his family. George wants to befriend him, but Elmer is convinced that he is “condemned to go through life without friends.” Elmer’s loneliness drives him to steal money from his father, senselessly attack George, and run away from Winesburg.
Get the entire Winesburg, Ohio LitChart as a printable PDF.
Winesburg, Ohio PDF

Elmer Cowley Character Timeline in Winesburg, Ohio

The timeline below shows where the character Elmer Cowley appears in Winesburg, Ohio. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
20. Queer
Alienation Theme Icon
Elmer Cowley is the son of the owner of Cowley & Son’s store, a place that... (full context)
Alienation Theme Icon
Elmer leaves Winesburg to go walking out in the country along the railroad tracks. He passionately... (full context)
Alienation Theme Icon
On his walk, Elmer becomes cold and turns off into the woods to build a fire. He sits in... (full context)
Alienation Theme Icon
Back in Winesburg, Elmer marches into the Eagle office and demands that George follow him outside. The two boys... (full context)
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
Alienation Theme Icon
Elmer, distraught over his failed confrontation, robs twenty dollars from his father’s store and decides that... (full context)
Alienation Theme Icon
Elmer goes to the New Willard House hotel and demands that the night clerk wake George... (full context)