The story is about Sister and how she becomes estranged from her family and ends up living at the post office where she works. Seen by critics as quality Southern literature , the story comically captures family relationships.
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Like most of her short stories, Welty masterfully captures Southern idiom and places importance on location and customs. It is seen as one of Welty's finest short stories, winning the second-place O.
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Henry Award in Welty's debut novel, The Robber Bridegroom , deviated from her previous psychologically inclined works, presenting static, fairy-tale characters. Some critics suggest that she worried about "encroaching on the turf of the male literary giant to the north of her in Oxford, Mississippi—William Faulkner",  and therefore wrote in a fairy-tale style instead of a historical one.
Most critics and readers saw it as a modern Southern fairy-tale and noted that it employs themes and characters reminiscent of the Grimm Brothers ' works.
There's No Comfort in The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty - PopMatters
As she later said, she wondered: "Whoever the murderer is, I know him: not his identity, but his coming about, in this time and place. That is, I ought to have learned by now, from here, what such a man, intent on such a deed, had going on in his mind.
I wrote his story—my fiction—in the first person: about that character's point of view". It was written at a much later date than the bulk of her work. As poet Howard Moss wrote in The New York Times , the book is "a miracle of compression, the kind of book, small in scope but profound in its implications, that rewards a lifetime of work". The plot focuses on family struggles when the daughter and the second wife of a judge confront each other in the limited confines of a hospital room while the judge undergoes eye surgery. Welty gave a series of addresses at Harvard University, revised and published as One Writer's Beginnings Harvard, In , she was awarded the Rea Award for the Short Story for her lifetime contributions to the American short story.
Welty was a charter member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers , founded in She also taught creative writing at colleges and in workshops. She lived near Jackson's Belhaven College and was a common sight among the people of her hometown. Welty personally influenced several young Mississippi writers in their careers including Richard Ford ,   Ellen Gilchrist ,  and Elizabeth Spencer.
Welty was a prolific writer who created stories in multiple genres. Throughout her writing are the recurring themes of the paradox of human relationships, the importance of place a recurring theme in most Southern writing , and the importance of mythological influences that help shape the theme. Welty said that her interest in the relationships between individuals and their communities stemmed from her natural abilities as an observer.
This particular story uses lack of proper communication to highlight the underlying theme of the paradox of human connection. Place is vitally important to Welty. She believed that place is what makes fiction seem real, because with place come customs, feelings, and associations. Place answers the questions, "What happened?
Who's here? Who's coming? This is the job of the storyteller. Within the tale, the main character, Phoenix, must fight to overcome the barriers within the vividly described Southern landscape as she makes her trek to the nearest town. The river in the story is viewed differently by each character. Some see it as a food source, others see it as deadly, and some see it as a sign that "the outside world is full of endurance". Welty is noted for using mythology to connect her specific characters and locations to universal truths and themes.
In "A Worn Path", the character Phoenix has much in common with the mythical bird. Phoenixes are said to be red and gold and are known for their endurance and dignity. Phoenix, the old Black woman, is described as being clad in a red handkerchief with undertones of gold and is noble and enduring in her difficult quest for the medicine to save her grandson. In "Death of a Traveling Salesman", the husband is given characteristics common to Prometheus.
He comes home after bringing fire to his boss and is full of male libido and physical strength. Welty also refers to the figure of Medusa , who in "Petrified Man" and other stories is used to represent powerful or vulgar women. Locations can also allude to mythology, as Welty proves in her novel Delta Wedding.
A brief survey of the short story part 29: Eudora Welty
As Professor Veronica Makowsky from the University of Connecticut writes, the setting of the Mississippi Delta has "suggestions of the goddess of love, Aphrodite or Venus -shells like that upon which Venus rose from the sea and female genitalia, as in the mound of Venus and Delta of Venus".
It is drawn from W. Yeats ' poem "The Song of Wandering Aengus". It also refers to myths of a golden apple being awarded after a contest. Welty used the symbol to illuminate the two types of attitudes her characters could take about life. It may even be seen as a pastoral hymn to fertility. Yet the story stands beyond whatever political context a later generation of gender-based literary critics may choose to impose upon the text.
Welty's story of the Fairchild clan is intended to portray a family anxious to seek a retreat from the modern world into a past that appears more attractive. Any number of stories from her five collections, including The Wide Net, from , The Leaning Tower, from , and The Bride Of The Innisfallen, from , with its number of European stories, testify to her mastery of the form.
An admirer of Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield and Henry Green, Welty was particularly devoted to Chekhov's understanding, humour and studies of people intently talking with no one listening. She saw him as remaining "close to today's world and very close to the South". At her finest, in the Optimist's Daughter and in many of her stories, she makes clear that her literary kindred spirit is none other than the great Russian master, whose humanity, feel for character and vision she shared.
Eudora Welty in Type and Person
Belfast Stories: Creative explosions in a city in flux. Night Boat to Tangier: Kevin Barry's fascinating hybrid of poetry, drama and ferocious prose. Free download. Book file PDF easily for everyone and every device. Journals began accepting Welty's stories in the early s and her first collection, A Curtain of Green , was published in The book sold just 7, copies in the 30 years that elapsed before Welty's first major commercial success, the family saga Losing Battles , but it contains several stories that have been heavily anthologised over the years: the deceptively simple "A Worn Path" , the feverishly comedic monologue "Why I Live at the P.
Despite the range and accomplishment of Welty's stories she was often dismissed as a regionalist, an unjust accusation that only receded late in her career. She was frequently compared to Carson McCullers, Flannery O'Connor and William Faulkner which, superficial similarities aside, seems more a geographical than a literary judgment. More considered analysis uncovers stylistic and thematic affiliations with Virginia Woolf, DH Lawrence, Jane Austen, Isak Dinesen, James Joyce and Chekhov: a blend that, combined with her own sensibility, proved a potent mixture.
Welty's most outstanding work, the novel-length story-cycle The Golden Apples , is clotted with such allusions. Spanning several decades in the fictional Mississippian town of Morgana, its seven stories enter into a dialogue with or otherwise rework Yeats's poem, The Song of Wandering Aengus; elements of James George Frazer's The Golden Bough; the Danae and Perseus myth; Leda and the swan; and numerous other pieces of Greek and Celtic mythology.
No special knowledge is required to appreciate the stories — particularly masterpieces like June Recital and Music from Spain — but once you begin tracing the threads of deeper meaning running through them, uncovering their multiplying levels of complexity quickly becomes addictive. Welty often drew criticism from northern critics for refusing to use her fiction to do anything other than denounce the south as corrupt and racist.
In response, she wrote an essay entitled "Must the Novelist Crusade? Defenders including her New Yorker editor William Maxwell and the novelist Toni Morrison have argued that the iniquities of southern attitudes to race are present throughout her work.
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