EUDORA WELTY THE OPTIMIST DAUGHTER PDF

It is easy to praise Eudora Welty but it is not so easy to analyze the elements in her work that make it so easy — and such a deep pleasure — to praise. To say that may, indeed, be the highest praise, for it implies that the work, at its best, is so fully created, so deeply realized, and formed with such apparent innocence that it offers only itself, in shining unity. Like her other works, this one is disarmingly simple. Laurel Hand, a widow from Mississippi but now living in Chicago, comes to New Orleans to be with her father. Her father, who has recently married a woman, Fay, who is younger than Laurel, has eye problems and needs surgery.

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I discovered this novel when I wanted something longer from Welty than a short story. You want to be back in that world, looking at those people and wondering why things happened the way they did. When I went back to North Carolina a few years ago on a research trip, the smells and sounds of the land and the air hit me like a shout of remembering. His quiet daughter Laurel, and his snapping second wife, Fay, come with him. The hospital seems eccentrically loud and folksy, because Welty writes the dialogue to jar and to surprise.

The judge takes a long time to recover from the operation, and Mrs Martello is installed as an experienced night nurse. Mrs Martello had found her shaking the judge by the shoulders, insisting that he get up now. Nothing is her fault, ever. As soon as Laurel gets off the train, she is embraced by her own people in her own town, and Fay is quietly, tacitly rejected. Fay is a country upstart, a pretty little thing that the judge married ill-advisedly, and she seems to be no more than an ill-bred and selfish little madam.

But through the homecoming, and the funeral, Welty shows us more depth to Fay than we would have believed possible. The more we see, the worse she gets. Her rudeness is outrageous, and her venality and greed are astounding. She clearly desires to refuse Fay anything she wants, or any advantage Laurel might regret. Laurel wants a gentle polite surface to be maintained: Fay wants her money and her property and to take her chance of having a good time at last.

Although Fay appears to be the tougher and the nastier person, Laurel is pretty tough too: she endures, and she simmers, whereas Fay emotes all over the place. They are an intense combination. The house is also a player in this situation. But the house becomes a battleground. Laurel looks for a breadboard, something old and precious to her, and finds that Fay has thrown it out, either years ago, or only a few days ago, out of spite.

The funeral is pretty spectacular. Like Like. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Skip to content. Like this: Like Loading Published May 4, Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:.

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BOB TAIT BASIC AERONAUTICAL KNOWLEDGE PDF

The Modern Novel

It was first published as a long story in the New Yorker in March and was subsequently revised and published in book form in Judge McKelva fails to recover from this surgery and as he dies slowly in the hospital, Laurel visits and reads to him from Dickens. Her father's second wife, Fay, who is younger than Laurel, is a shrewish outsider from Texas. Her shrill response to the Judge's illness appears to accelerate his demise. Laurel and Fay are thrown together when they return the Judge to his home town of Mount Salus, Mississippi, where he will be buried.

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The horrible stepmother in The Optimist’s Daughter, by Eudora Welty

I discovered this novel when I wanted something longer from Welty than a short story. You want to be back in that world, looking at those people and wondering why things happened the way they did. When I went back to North Carolina a few years ago on a research trip, the smells and sounds of the land and the air hit me like a shout of remembering. His quiet daughter Laurel, and his snapping second wife, Fay, come with him. The hospital seems eccentrically loud and folksy, because Welty writes the dialogue to jar and to surprise. The judge takes a long time to recover from the operation, and Mrs Martello is installed as an experienced night nurse. Mrs Martello had found her shaking the judge by the shoulders, insisting that he get up now.

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