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Central Idea And Important Character Aspects Of The Narrator In Sherwood Anderson's "I Want To Know Why"

899 words - 4 pages

Sherwood Anderson's coming of age "I Want To Know Why" is the narrative of an adolescent boy whose world revolves around racehorses and the perplexing emotions that surface when he meets the trainer of his favorite horse. In this tale, our narrator painfully learns the disappointment of upholding our idols to unrealistic standards and, more importantly, after the loss of innocence, the realities of the world are not always as idealistic as once envisioned.Sherwood Anderson takes us to the southern town of Beckersville, Kentucky during a time where slavery is abolished but black people still do menial work. There is nothing else extraordinary about the town except for in the spring; ...view middle of the document...

Peering through a window, he sees the trainer bragging about Sunstreak, claiming that he was the one that had won the race and broken the record. The narrator grows fiercely angry as he listens to the trainer carrying on. He slinks away, hating the trainer. His tumultuous emotions churn away at why: Why would a man who shares the same passion as him, a man who sees the beauty in horses as he does be at such a "rotten" place carrying on with such "rotten-looking" women and doing such "rotten" things? This second encounter with the trainer has spoiled his passion for thoroughbred horses and all the wonderful and "lovely" things he once associated with the sport have also soured.Although we never learn the name of our young narrator, we quickly learn that he is naive and obsessed with horses but we also learn that he has a good heart. He has yet to think of the consequences of his words because he refers to the black people in town as "niggers." In contrast, he speaks so fondly of them that we can only assume that the only reason he would use such a word in the absence of malice is that he simply does not know any better, so we excuse him. He is a casual acquaintance of a black man namedBildad Johnson. Bildad lives a harsh life but the narrator does not see Bildad's struggling existence for what it is. Quite often,...

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