ABSTRACT

“The Man Who Became a Woman” is a tale that most clearly illustrates Sherwood Anderson’s devotion to his craft. The task he set for himself was much more demanding than the writing of similar race-track narratives like “I Want to Know Why” from The Triumph of the Egg and “I’m a Fool” from Horses and Men. In both of these tales Anderson relied on first-person narration, adolescent characters his readers could quickly understand, and his knowledge and love of race-tracks and horses. This expertise with point of view, when combined with his fortuitous character choice and his abundant supply of images rich in sensory detail, gave Anderson the ideal occasion to capture pictures of race track life. However, in the crafting of “The Man Who Became a Woman,” he also depended heavily on image patterns to reveal character and theme. Here, he added this technique to his normal tales to produce one of his most delicately crafted works. “The Man Who Became a Woman” is more than a traditional story of initiation; it is a beautiful impressionistic portrait of passion, confusion, despair, trauma, and bitter-sweet acceptance of maturity.

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