Short Story #253: Brothers by Sherwood Anderson

Title: Brothers 

Author: Sherwood Anderson


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A man explains the layout of his country house.  He talks about a walk he went for the previous day when there was heavy fog and how eerie the surrounding countryside was.  He was approached by a man that locals consider to be crazy but he has encountered the man many a time on his walks.  The man often tells tales about how he is related to people in the news.  On one occasion, the man claims to have been brothers with a recent millionaire whose scandalous relationship with a mistress was in the news.  The man then relates a most recent series of stories about a man who stands accused of murdering his wife.  The man began to fall for a woman in his office and he daydreams about her.  He finds faults in his wife and his family life in general. The woman knows of his romantic interest and plots to use it, regularly flirting with him.  She begins to walk with him upon leaving work.  She enjoyed the attention and the safety.  He continues with the frustration of home life. And then, the narrator reports that the man killed his wife.  Upon returning from the movies one night, they entered the dark hallway of their apartment building and he stabbed her a dozen times.  He later claims that he wouldn't have done it if the corridor had been lit.  He had initially been able to fool people but eventually the police arrive and arrest him.  He confessed but says nothing of the woman he was infatuated with. Everyone is still trying to determine the motive for the crime.  It comes back to the narrator who talks about walking in the fog on another day and encounters the man.  The man claims to be brothers with the murderer.  As the old man goes one, the narrator feels touched by the spirit of the murderer who appears to have inhabited the body of the old man.  The old man walks around clutching a dog close to him and at this point, is clutching so tight as if having a seizure that the narrator pulls the dog free. On another day, the narrator is sitting in his house when the old man pasts but there is no longer any dog with him.  


Like some of Anderson's other work tales, this is a bit dark and strange.  The name of the story, "Brothers" seems to suggest some fraternity of men that do things for no clear reason or hold reasons so tight to themselves that it all but kills those around them.   

Short Story #253 out of 365
Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  7/20/2014
Source:  The short story can be found at this website.  

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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