Winesburg, Ohio

Winesburg, Ohio

by

Sherwood Anderson

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Winesburg, Ohio can help.
The primary love interest of George Willard. The daughter of a wealthy banker, Helen has a privileged upbringing and is the object of several boys’ affections, including George’s close friend Seth Richmond. Despite having a childhood crush on Seth, she gradually forms a connection with George after he decides he wants to fall in love with her. When they are eighteen years old, Helen and George experience a profound sense of mutual understanding and respect for each other. Her presence helps George understand the nature of adult relationships and the complimentary roles of men and women. Helen has gone off to college in Cleveland and has grown into a mature young woman when she returns to Winesburg for the county fair. Just before George departs from Winesburg to start his adult life, he spends a meaningful night with Helen that serves as the affirmation of his transition from childhood to manhood.

Helen White Quotes in Winesburg, Ohio

The Winesburg, Ohio quotes below are all either spoken by Helen White or refer to Helen White. 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.
24. Sophistication Quotes

The eighteen years he has lived seem but a moment, a breathing space in the long march of humanity. Already he hears death calling. With all his heart he wants to come close to some other human, touch someone with his hands, be touched by the hand of another. If he prefers that the other be a woman, that is because he believes a woman will be gentle, that she will understand. He wants, most of all, understanding.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), George Willard, Elizabeth Willard, Helen White
Page Number: 224
Explanation and Analysis:

He began to think of the people in the town where he had always lived with something like reverence. He had reverence for Helen. He wanted to love and be loved by her, but he did not want at the moment to be confused by her womanhood…In that high place in the darkness the two oddly sensitive human atoms held each other tightly and waited. In the mind of each was the same though. “I have come to this lonely place and here is the other,” was the substance of the thing felt.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), George Willard, Helen White
Page Number: 230-231
Explanation and Analysis:
25. Departure Quotes

The young man’s mind was carried away by his growing passion for dreams. One looking at him would not have thought him particularly sharp. With the recollection of little things occupying his mind he closed his eyes and leaned back in the car seat. He stayed that way for a long time and when he aroused himself and again looked out of the car window the town of Winesburg had disappeared and his life there had become but a background on which to paint the dreams of his manhood.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), George Willard, Helen White
Page Number: 236
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Winesburg, Ohio LitChart as a printable PDF.
Winesburg, Ohio PDF

Helen White Character Timeline in Winesburg, Ohio

The timeline below shows where the character Helen White appears in Winesburg, Ohio. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
14. The Thinker
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
...is writing a book and has resolved to fall in love with the banker’s daughter Helen White so that he can draw material from his own romantic experiences. Since Seth knows... (full context)
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
Alienation Theme Icon
...of George’s rapport with the same townspeople from whom he feels alienated. He goes to Helen’s house and tells her that he will leave home and move to Columbus to work... (full context)
17. The Teacher
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
...begins to have “lustful thoughts.” He embraces his pillow, pretending it is Kate Swift or Helen White, with whom he is “half in love.” Later that evening, the deep snow causes... (full context)
22. Drink
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
...out of his mind altogether until he arrives in Winesburg and falls in love with Helen White. One night, Tom decides that he needs to gain the one-time experience of getting... (full context)
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
...takes him into the Winesburg Eagle printshop. Tom tells him that he made love to Helen White by the sea, but George knows this is not true and angrily tells Tom... (full context)
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
Alienation Theme Icon
Tom Foster again tells George that he had sex with Helen, and George becomes angry. Tom puts his hand on George’s arm and tries to explain... (full context)
23. Death
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
Grief Theme Icon
...conviction he will definitely leave Winesburg for a new life. He begins to fantasize about Helen White as he sits beside his mother’s dead body and breaks down in shame. George... (full context)
24. Sophistication
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
Feeling a distinct shift toward manhood in himself, George longs to see Helen White, who has come from college in Cleveland to spend the day at the fair.... (full context)
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
On the night of the county fair, Helen and George both remember a summer evening when they had walked together through the countryside... (full context)
Alienation Theme Icon
At Helen’s house, her date is trying to impress her parents but comes off as rude and... (full context)
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
Alienation Theme Icon
Faith, Fate, and Meaning Theme Icon
George and Helen climb up a hill to reach the Winesburg Fair Ground. George feels that his emotions... (full context)
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
George and Helen both experience a profound sense of mutual understanding and share a brief kiss. Walking back... (full context)
25. Departure
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
When the train pulls into the station at seven forty-five, George hurries aboard before Helen White can have a parting word with him. He counts the money in his wallet,... (full context)