Homer's first name suggests that he is a misplaced hometown boy and points towards his plan to return home at the novel's end. His last name emphasizes his simplicity. This forty-year-old retired hotel bookkeeper, however, is not an ordinary, simple homeboy. He is a grotesque figure of repressed and dangerous sexuality. Many critics have noted his similarity to Wing Biddlebaum, the protagonist of Sherwood Anderson's story "Hands," in the novel Winesburg, Ohio. Wing Biddlebaum has been a schoolteacher who was almost lynched because he could not keep his hands from wavering over his male students; he lived and died in social isolation. Quite possibly, West borrowed the symbolic, aggressive sexual wavering of Homer's hands from this source, but Anderson's character is more sensitive and receives a more sympathetic treatment. Homer Simpson is infantile, automaton-like, and repressed, but the reader does not learn how he got
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