Winesburg, Ohio

Winesburg, Ohio

by

Sherwood Anderson

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A local schoolteacher who is known for her cold, unhappy demeanor. Kate lives with her aunt across from the Presbyterian Church of Winesburg. Reverend Hartman can see into Kate’s bedroom the church bell tower and the minister develops a sexually-fueled obsession with her that culminates in a spiritual epiphany when he sees her naked and praying. Kate has an emotional relationship with George Willard (her former student) which teeters on the edge of romance and confuses both of them due to their age gap and the frustration she feels at George’s perceived immaturity. She represents sexual confusion and temptation for both Hartman and George.

Kate Swift Quotes in Winesburg, Ohio

The Winesburg, Ohio quotes below are all either spoken by Kate Swift or refer to Kate Swift. 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.
17. The Teacher Quotes

“If you are to become a writer you’ll have to stop fooling with words,” she explained. “It would be better to give up the notion of writing until you are better prepared. Now it’s time to be living. I don’t want to frighten you, but I would like to make you understand the import of what you think of attempting. You must not become a mere peddler of words. The thing to learn is to know what people are thinking about, not what they say.”

Related Characters: Kate Swift (speaker), George Willard
Page Number: 150
Explanation and Analysis:
19. An Awakening Quotes

“There is a law for armies and for men too,” he muttered, lost in reflection. “The law begins with little things and spreads out until it covers everything. In every little thing there must be order…I must myself be orderly. I must learn that law. I must get myself into touch with something orderly and big that swings through the night like a star. In my little way I must begin to learn something, to give and swing and work with life, with the law.”

Related Characters: George Willard (speaker), Kate Swift
Page Number: 170-171
Explanation and Analysis:
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Kate Swift Character Timeline in Winesburg, Ohio

The timeline below shows where the character Kate Swift appears in Winesburg, Ohio. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
16. The Strength of God
Faith, Fate, and Meaning Theme Icon
...looks out the window of this room and is shocked to see the local schoolteacher Kate Swift in the upstairs of the house next door smoking a cigarette while reading in... (full context)
Alienation Theme Icon
Faith, Fate, and Meaning Theme Icon
Kate Swift has a “sharp tongue” and an unladylike reputation around town. She reminds Reverend Hartman... (full context)
Faith, Fate, and Meaning Theme Icon
Reverend Hartman is quickly thrown into a dilemma over Kate. At first, he only wants to reach her troubled soul with his sermons, but he... (full context)
Faith, Fate, and Meaning Theme Icon
...confident that God will intercede on his behalf and free him from his obsession with Kate, he watches her read through her bedroom window several times over the course of a... (full context)
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
Faith, Fate, and Meaning Theme Icon
...sin because otherwise he would be a hypocrite preaching God’s word but secretly lusting after Kate. He nearly freezes to death in the bell tower waiting for Kate on a winter... (full context)
17. The Teacher
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
...builds a fire, and sits down to think. George has begun to talk regularly with Kate Swift, his former schoolteacher, and is convinced that she must be in love with him.... (full context)
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
...another fire and 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... (full context)
Alienation Theme Icon
Faith, Fate, and Meaning Theme Icon
Recently, Kate has been experiencing an internal crisis of “grief, hope, and desire” that drives her to... (full context)
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
Kate has become fixated on George Willard, attracted to the childhood whimsy and burgeoning manhood that... (full context)
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
Faith, Fate, and Meaning Theme Icon
On the night of the blizzard, while Reverend Hartman waits for Kate, she goes to the Winesburg Eagle office and has a deep, hour-long conversation with George... (full context)
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
Faith, Fate, and Meaning Theme Icon
...moment from the minister’s point of view in “The Strength of God.” Hartman, having seen Kate naked and emotionally praying in her room after her confusing encounter with George, proclaims that... (full context)