Winesburg, Ohio

Winesburg, Ohio

by

Sherwood Anderson

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

Louise Bentley Character Analysis

The only child of Jesse Bentley. Jesse resents Louise for being female, as he wanted a son instead of a daughter to help him fulfill his prophetic mission of serving God. As a result, Louise is neglected growing up and craves love and acceptance. She goes to live with Albert Hardy and his children John, Mary, and Harriet as a teenager so that she can attend Winesburg High School. She is ostracized by Mary and Harriet and is just as unhappy in Winesburg as she was on the Bentley farm. Louise decides to form a connection with John Hardy, hoping that a relationship with him will give her the affection and understanding she has always wanted. Louise and John Hardy begin a passionate love affair as teenagers and marry out of fear that Louise may be pregnant. When it turns out that the pregnancy was a false alarm, Louise becomes resentful of John and her behavior becomes erratic and violent. After she has their son David, she neglects him because she is unsure whether she wants to be a mother. Louise believes that David’s maleness alone will grant him everything he wants in life. When David is twelve years old, she allows him to go live with his grandfather Jesse on the Bentley farm because she believes her son is better off without her.

Louise Bentley Quotes in Winesburg, Ohio

The Winesburg, Ohio quotes below are all either spoken by Louise Bentley or refer to Louise Bentley. 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.
9. Godliness, Part III: Surrender Quotes

It seemed to her that between herself and all the other people in the world, a wall had been built up and that she was living just on the edge of some warm inner circle of life that must be quite open and understandable to others. She became obsessed with the thought that it wanted but a courageous act on her part to make all of her association with people something quite different, and that it was possible by such an act to pass into a new life as one opens a door and goes into a room.

Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Winesburg, Ohio LitChart as a printable PDF.
Winesburg, Ohio PDF

Louise Bentley Character Timeline in Winesburg, Ohio

The timeline below shows where the character Louise Bentley appears in Winesburg, Ohio. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
8. Godliness, Part II
Alienation Theme Icon
Grief Theme Icon
The story shifts two generations into the future to tell the story of Jesse’s daughter Louise Bentley, her husband John Hardy, and their son (Jesse’s grandson) David Hardy. David’s childhood has... (full context)
Grief Theme Icon
...years old, Jesse demands that his grandson come live with him on the Bentley farm. Louise surprisingly allows David to go without a fight. She comments that David will be better... (full context)
9. Godliness, Part III: Surrender
Alienation Theme Icon
...events of “Godliness, Part I” and “Godliness, Part II” to focus on Jesse Bentley’s daughter Louise. Her father’s strict demeanor and resentment of her for being female causes her to become... (full context)
Alienation Theme Icon
Faith, Fate, and Meaning Theme Icon
Alienated by the Mary and Harriet, Louise decides she will befriend their brother John Hardy. Louise becomes obsessed with the idea of... (full context)
Alienation Theme Icon
After John acknowledges Louise while dropping off firewood in her room, she calls out to him out her bedroom... (full context)
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
Alienation Theme Icon
Grief Theme Icon
A few days later, John finally comes to Louise’s window and the two have sex. John and Louise become lovers over the next few... (full context)
10. Godliness, Part IV: Terror
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
Faith, Fate, and Meaning Theme Icon
...that God has taken him away as a punishment for Jesse’s greed. Eventually Jesse and Louise both die. David’s father John becomes rich, trying and failing to find his son using... (full context)