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MonkeyNotes-Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson-Free Study Guide
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'GODLINESS-A TALE IN FOUR PARTS' (continued)

PART III - Surrender

Summary

Louise Bentley as a child was an over - sensitive, moody and silent kid. At the age of fifteen she went to live at Albert's Hardy's house. Hardy's daughters had no interest in studies and Louise won their disfavor by excelling in studies. Louise thus began befriending their brother, John Hardy. Her feeling for him was unconsciously sexual, but she wasn't totally aware of its depth. She is too young to realize her actions might be misconstrued. Her youth prevails her to use the chance of befriending one person at least. night she slips a note beneath his door professing her love for him and asking him to show him reciprocation in some way. But there is no sign of it, from him and Louise is devastated. However after a couple of weeks he does approach her and Louise takes him as her lover.

After a few months on knowing that she was pregnant, they both go and quietly get married. But, Louise could never make her husband understand the vague and intangible hunger inside her that had pushed her into making John her lover; John never bothered to understand and their marriage becomes a bitter ground for anger and hurt. When David is born, she refuses to nurse him and on being reproached just says, "it is a man child and will get what it wants anyway."


Notes

This part of the story deals mainly with Louise the unwanted daughter of Jesse Bentley. It describes how the feeling of being unwanted and disdain can creep into a mere child and change her entire outlook towards life. It is her father's anger and obvious despair at not having a son that has made Louise a neurotic, from his childhood itself.

It is her desperate need for love and affection that sends her to Albert Hardy's house. Her drive to excel in her work and in studies is merely her need to prove her worth. And thus win the affection of the Hardy family. However it is her sheer bad-luck that it Boomerangs on her, and the two daughters instead of liking her, only reproach her and keep away from her.

Louise's desire for John Hardy is not really a sexual overture. Her initial thought had been only to befriend him. The pathos in this is that her over-sensitivity bars her from approaching him straightaway. All she can do is correctly watch him and fill her mind of ways to draw close to him.

Her need to be close to him is not clearly sexual. And many a times she is caught up in the dilemma, as she is oblivious of her actions. Though it is her need for love that has driven her to such acts, since she is still too young to comprehend her sexuality. It is only her basic need and craving for warmth and affection that drives her to take as bold an action as sending him a note.

John, being the grown lad that he is, obviously misinterprets her letter to be a sexual advance and seeks it eagerly. This eventually leads to a culmination in marriage but Louise's hunger for real love is unsatisfied

It is this unfulfilled hunger that drives her away from her own son. Just as her father didn't want a girl, she repulses him off, for being a boy and not a girl. As she says, "Had it been a woman child there is nothing in the world I would not have done for it."

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