the short story project

The Strength of God

Yoav Rosen On:

The Strength of God by Sherwood Anderson

Is the insurmountable barrier between one human being to another passable? In “The Strength of God,” one of Sherwood Anderson’s most striking stories, Curtis Hartman, a local pastor in the small town of Winesburg, Ohio, finds himself at a split: while preparing his weekly service, as he always does, in his small study on top of his chruch’s bell tower, he notices a young woman from her bedroom window, reading a book, smoking a cigarette. By the power of sight alone, the holy work turns impure. Anderson builds the irony gradually, so it becomes sustainable and reflects through the prism of common notions. Can pastor Curtis Hartman be saved by the sight of a woman? Perhaps God is indeed a woman?