Winesburg, Ohio

Winesburg, Ohio

by

Sherwood Anderson

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

Tom Willard Character Analysis

George Willard’s father. Tom is ashamed of the “shabby” New Willard House hotel that he took over after the death of his wife Elizabeth’s father. He is also resentful and embarrassed of his wife’s sloppy appearance and sullen presence as she remains bedbound in the hotel by her chronic illness. His encouragement of their son George to “wake up” and get serious about his life and career enrages Elizabeth. Tom spends most of his time engaged in local politics, where he is a vocal Democrat in the majority-Republican town.

Tom Willard Quotes in Winesburg, Ohio

The Winesburg, Ohio quotes below are all either spoken by Tom Willard or refer to Tom Willard . 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.
4. Mother Quotes

The hotel was continually losing patronage because of its shabbiness and she thought of herself as also shabby. Her own room was in an obscure corner and when she felt able to work she voluntarily worked among the beds, preferring the labor that could be done when the guests were abroad seeking trade among the merchants of Winesburg.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), George Willard, Elizabeth Willard, Tom Willard
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:
23. Death Quotes

“Love is like a wind stirring the grass beneath trees on a black night,” he had said. “You must not try to make love definite. It is the divine accident of life. If you try to be definite and sure about it and to live beneath the trees, where soft night winds blow, the long hot day of disappointment comes swiftly and the gritty dust from passing wagons gathers upon lips inflamed and made tender by kisses.”

Related Characters: Doctor Reefy (speaker), Elizabeth Willard, Tom Willard
Page Number: Page 211
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Winesburg, Ohio LitChart as a printable PDF.
Winesburg, Ohio PDF

Tom Willard Character Timeline in Winesburg, Ohio

The timeline below shows where the character Tom Willard appears in Winesburg, Ohio. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
4. Mother
Alienation Theme Icon
Tom Willard, George Willard’s father, is the proprietor of the New Willard House hotel that had... (full context)
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
Alienation Theme Icon
Grief Theme Icon
...to her bedroom, Elizabeth realizes that George had not been speaking to himself, but to Tom. She overhears a conversation in which Tom, who wants George to succeed in life, lectures... (full context)
Alienation Theme Icon
Grief Theme Icon
Before she married Tom, Elizabeth was a restless young girl who longed to join one of the theater companies... (full context)
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
Alienation Theme Icon
Grief Theme Icon
After deciding that she is going to stab Tom, Elizabeth imagines a theatrical vision of the murder and decides that she must look beautiful... (full context)
23. Death
Alienation Theme Icon
Grief Theme Icon
Before Elizabeth married George’s father Tom Willard, she was a free spirit who had many adventures and “half a dozen lovers.”... (full context)
Alienation Theme Icon
Grief Theme Icon
...of the wedding. Elizabeth reflects that although she wanted a husband, she did not want Tom, and only married him because she was already the subject of town gossip and did... (full context)
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
Grief Theme Icon
...and dies before she can tell George about the $800 she has kept hidden from Tom behind the drywall in her bedroom. George, now eighteen, at first feels annoyed and unable... (full context)
25. Departure
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
...way and ask him how it feels to be leaving his hometown. Later that morning, Tom Willard carries George’s bag to the train platform and waits with his son. Several townspeople... (full context)
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
...can have a parting word with him. He counts the money in his wallet, remembering Tom’s instructions to be sharp and keep track of his money. Looking out the train window,... (full context)