Winesburg, Ohio

Winesburg, Ohio


Sherwood Anderson

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Joe Welling Character Analysis

The Standard Oil agent in Winesburg. Joe is a tiny, highly energetic man who regularly accosts people to tell them about his wild, ranting ideas. Wanting to earn the respect of other men in town, Joe starts a successful baseball team as well as a love affair with Sarah King. The pair’s disparate appearances make their relationship a bizarre spectacle for the rest of the town. Although Sarah’s family is rumored to have a dangerous reputation, Joe wins over her father and brother with his typical “tidal wave of words.”

Joe Welling Quotes in Winesburg, Ohio

The Winesburg, Ohio quotes below are all either spoken by Joe Welling or refer to Joe Welling. 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.
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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Joe Welling Character Timeline in Winesburg, Ohio

The timeline below shows where the character Joe Welling appears in Winesburg, Ohio. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
11. A Man of Ideas
Alienation Theme Icon
Grief Theme Icon
Winesburg, Ohio shifts back to the present day (the early twentieth century). Joe Welling, the Standard Oil agent in Winesburg and the surrounding towns, is manically possessed by... (full context)
Alienation Theme Icon
Hoping to earn the townsmen’s respect, Joe decides to start a baseball club and coaches the team to a string of victories.... (full context)
Alienation Theme Icon
Joe meets with Sarah King’s brother Tom and her father Edward at the New Willard House.... (full context)