In Sherwood Anderson's introduction to his story I'm a Fool, the author builds into his character's vivid description of the background events leading up to the plot a great amount of detail and emotion. This seems to indicate a sensitivity of the character to that stage of his life. The story relates a defining moment for the character, especially given the vehement self-condemnation of the un-named character at the end of the story.
Written from a first person viewpoint, and set in early twentieth century Ohio, the story revolves around the summer and fall working experiences of a nineteen-year old boy working with horses in the racing business. The plot specifically hinges on an encounter with a girl attending a race.
After getting a Saturday off from work to attend a race, the character treats his ego. His level of pride had been building in the description of the events leading up this point in the story, and seems to indicate that his pride will be a focus of the conflict. The character recognizes genuine potential in himself, but this slowly grows to an inflated self-analysis. The conflict in the story begins with an encounter with a man who repulses the protagonist with a reflection of pride: "In the bar there was a fellow with a cane and a Windsor tie on, that made me sick to look at him. I like a man to be dressed up, but not to go putting on that kind of airs." After a wordless brush of egos, the characters go on their way. Only in the end of the story when the protagonist is lamenting the events of the story does the old man resurface: "I wish I had that fellow right here…I'd smash him for fair…. He's a big fool - that's what he is." Here, in recollection of his actions, the protagonist realizes that he became the thing he had hated.
At the race the protagonist meets a girl who is out for the day with her brother Wilbur and his date. As the protagonist toys with the attentions of the group, they invite hi...