George Willard is thinking of Helen White on the day of the county fair, and she is thinking of George, even though she is stuck with a college instructor of hers who has come to town for the day. In the evening, her mother insinuates that this instructor would be a good match for Helen and keeps the two talking on the porch. Helen leaves the house and runs into George on his way to visit her. They go off together to the fairgrounds and spend some time together. They embrace a little and talk a little. Then, they play around like two small animals. After they goof around, they feel satisfied and ready to be adults.
This is one of the few moments in the text where two people connect in an authentic way. The connection, like all others, is fleeting, because people are meant to spend their adult lives caught up in the truths they construct around themselves. But, for a moment, these two people are connected. It is a lovely moment, not meant to last but appreciated because they both need it at that point in their lives. Connection, then, is not so much about permanent relationships, such as marriage or parenthood, but about getting the right moment of interaction at the right time.
Winesburg, Ohio: Novel Summary: Sophistication