Skip to main content

Just Listen Podcast: "The Other Woman" by Sherwood Anderson

Just Listen Podcast: "The Other Woman" by Sherwood Anderson

Sherwood Anderson was a very introspective and subjective writer whose work was often loaded with personal experience. As you listen to the following story, keep in mind that Anderson married four times! His spouses were: Cornelia Pratt Lane (1904–1916), Tennessee Claflin Mitchell (1916–1924), Elizabeth Prall (1924–1932), Eleanor Copenhaver (1933–1941).

The narrative is almost, but not quite, stream of consciousness. The speaker rattles on through the pages, giving voice to the flow of thoughts passing through his mind as he relates his impulsive cheating on his fiancée, later his wife—contradicting himself at several points, occasionally losing track of the point he's trying to make, and even creating an impression opposite to what he obviously intends to convey in the mind of the listener.

The unreliable narrator would become a staple of literature over the twentieth century. In some popular fiction, it's just a technique of misdirection, letting the author hide certain elements of the plot from the reader until the truth can be sprung in a surprise ending. But in more serious writing, the unreliable narrator allows just what we find in "The Other Woman": complexity, uncertainty--which may not entertain as much, but makes us think and rethink, to examine and re-examine our own feelings.

“The Other Woman” by Sherwood Anderson…we begin….