How can we tell the difference between benevolence and predation?
Are there inherently kind, gentle, well-meaning people? Of course there are. Yet, far too often we assign some malevolent intent to their actions. Recently. I got around to watching "Won’t You Be My Neighbor," the documentary about Fred Rogers. Again and again, critics questioned his motives and desire to improve the lives of children. I was shocked to see a group of people protesting at Mister Rogers funeral.
There are monsters in the world. A few people do prey on children, yet there must be far more with good intentions. Because of a few horrific predators, we are often suspicious of those who mean well. That is the theme of this powerful short story from 100 years ago.
Sherwood Anderson wrote about small town life in early 20th century America. It is from his best known work, Winesburg, Ohio: A Group of Tales of Ohio Small Town Life , that this story was taken.
His stories had a power influence on a generation of writers that followed Anderson. His most notable acolytes were Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner.