Winesburg, Ohio

Winesburg, Ohio


Sherwood Anderson

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Wash Williams Character Analysis

Winesburg’s telegraph operator. Wash is a filthy, obese man who does not associate with other men in town and is notoriously misogynistic. Seeing George Willard kiss Belle Carpenter inspires Wash to warn George about the perils of trusting women. Cheated on by his wife, Wash has come to the conclusion that all women are “bitches” who only manipulate and betray men. His story does not convince George, who is left feeling physically ill at the overwhelming resentment Wash expresses.

Wash Williams Quotes in Winesburg, Ohio

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

The timeline below shows where the character Wash Williams appears in Winesburg, Ohio. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
13. Respectability
Alienation Theme Icon
Wash Williams, the telegraph operator of Winesburg, is described by the narrator as a “beast in... (full context)
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
Grief Theme Icon
One evening, Wash spots George Willard out walking with Belle Carpenter. After seeing the two teenagers kissing, he... (full context)
Coming of Age, Independence, and Manhood Theme Icon
Grief Theme Icon
Wash continues on with his tale, telling George about his early days of marriage in Columbus,... (full context)