Themes of Eudora Welty
A theme in writing is the main idea of the literary document. By a writer having well written papers with a generalized theme the writer is able to imagine and feel the occurrences within the piece of work. Theme is a main component of any fictional writers work; it is the element of the paper that is reoccurring throughout the piece of work. The theme will always be a subject but not every subject that is found is a theme (Childs and Fowler 239). Eudora Welty is a very strong writer who uses many themes throughout her literary work that is illustrated as racism, responsibility, initiation, coming of age, belonging, as well as many other that are found throughout her literary pieces.
A Worn Path is a story with many different themes shown throughout it. It is considered by many to be the best writing that Welty ever did. Because Eudora Welty was a writer from Mississippi in the 1940-1950's most of her writing was influenced by the theme of race and racism. In A Worn Path, Welty shows the theme of race and racism by the encounters in which her characters experience along the story. During the time period in which the story was written, it was common for a Caucasian person to call blacks by aunt, granny, or uncle as a way of labeling them instead of speaking to them as an individual by their name (Wilson 315). Welty often found herself using themes that were influenced by Greek mythology and beliefs (Champion 350). The theme of resurrection is found within A Worn Path by looking into the character of Phoenix. When you examine Greek mythology, you see that a phoenix was a bird that actually rose from its ashes to restart a new life. Just as the phoenix mythological bird is resurrected, the character Phoenix is resurrected because she refuses to give up and die. Duty and responsibility is seen through A Worn Path as the character Phoenix had a strong sense of duty to take care of her grandson as he has no one else to tend to him. Not only did Phoenix
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have a sense of duty to care for him, but she felt that it was her responsibility to see he got everything that he needed like when she was determined to make it into town to get the medication that he needed for his throat. The main themes in which sum up A Worn Path are race, duty and responsibility, and resurrection. Welty uses these themes to allow the reader to experience firsthand the struggle in which the characters encounter.
Moon Lake is a short story that Eudora Welty wrote in 1947 with the themes of identity, belonging, initiation, and coming of age. In Moon Lake, there are two characters that are prepared to see a new view of what reality is. Loch Morrison, and the girls both experience initiation and they are both connected to the revelation of the male power and energy. Loch Morrison initiation comes from not hunting like most males experience, but instead through the heroism and salvation. This story depicts the theme of coming of age and the group of girls start to notice the lifeguard Loch Morrison as he is ever so careful to stay to himself. Welty speaks of Easter who almost drowns in the lake is rescued by Loch, only for it to be perceived as a sexual act to the other lady. Throughout the enire story Welty speaks of feminine scenes which are reinforced by masculine energy. Identity is within this short story as a whole is applied to the orphan girls who do not have a true sense of who they are. They simply give theirselves certain names and identities as does Easter. They are not rooted deeply within the town because they are known as unwanted or outcast. Jinny love on the other hand knows exactly who she is as her identity is defined by the adult world. Her identity is given to her with approval from society. Nina on the other hand is an individual who is not happy being just her, she wants to know what life is like for others. She has a very private sense of her own identity as she feels very isolated(Milne 8). Moon lake has a theme of belonging as all of the orphan girl have a sense of unity being at the camp. They feel as if they all fit in and are needed by each other. The orphans have no other sense of identity except for what they know when they are together at the camp. Belonging to the group of orphans gives them a sense of identity and family that they long for.
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Eudora Welty has many other stories that she has written with very stong themes. During the end of Welty's life and writing career, she became very cold hearted and defensive about the
issue of race. Everywhere she went she was under presure to address race and she began to resent it(Flower 327).
Champion, Laurie, and Emmanuel S. Nelson. American Women Writers, 1900-1945: a Bio-bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 2000. Print.
Childs, Peter, and Roger Fowler. The Routledge Dictionary of Literary Terms. London: Routledge, 2006. Print.
Flower, Dean. "Eudora Welty on Racism." The Hudson Review LX.2 (Summer 2007). Print.
Milne, Ira Mark. Short Stories for Students. Presenting Analysis, Context, and Criticism on Commonly Studies Short Stories. Vol. 26. Detroit: Gale/Cengage Learning, 2008. Print..
Wilson, Kathleen. Short Stories for Students: Presenting Analysis, Context, and Criticism on Commonly Studied Short Stories. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 1997. Print.