udora Welty’s novel, “The Optimist’s Daughter,” which first appeared in The New Yorker of March 15, , is a miracle of compression, the kind. The Optimist’s Daughter. By Eudora Welty · March 15, P. The New Yorker, March 15, P. Laurel’s father, Judge McKelva, died in the hospital 3. The Optimist’s Daughter () by Eudora Welty is primarily a story about place, position, and values, although it does also touch on familial.

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After her distraught and immature stepmother leaves, Laurel finally has time to herself in the house she grew up in with the friends and neighbors she knew since childhood. We can only hope our children understand and can tell the stories the right way to our grandchildren.

I found so much to enjoy here; there are the same poetic writing I’ve come to expect and anticipate from Welty and the characters who are both eccentric and very human. In a relatively short novel, she compresses the lives of four people on to the pages so skillfully, so completely, that you come to know them and understand them. The neighbors respect her father for his strength while dying of cancer, while his young second wife is silly and has spurts of dramatic mourning that are not what people want to see.

There will be fewer birthdays to celebrate, a package or two less to wrap at Christmas. In the story Laurel and Fay have many arguments because of Fay’s rude dajghter. The story-line itself does not flow well for me and seems very concocted and unnatural — almost forced, if that makes sense.

There is so much space between the words on the page. She rediscovers the life of friendship and love that she left behind so many years ago, along with heartache. It may be the only occupation left optimistt haven’t written a book about. Welty never ceases to amaze with her dark and subtle look into Southern culture. I felt the heat rise in my neck and the need to say “you have no right”, but the fact of the matter is Fay does have the daghter.

The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty (1960)

Oh yeah, this did win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in the early s. As I’ve demonstrated many times before, I’m at a point where I’m pretty comfortable talking about life as a self-appointed orphan; my thr knows this better than anyone else but is still reluctant to broach the topic unless I lead the way or, you know, we receive another letter from a collection agency about my mother’s mounting debt — which, objectively, I find hilarious considering that not speaking to the horrid shrew in three years means that I never gave her my new address, which she is somehow using to apply for things.


The story is also imbued with the melancholy and fatalism often seen in good Southern literature. Nothing is her fault, ever. After the Judge weoty, the majority of the novel is set in Laurel’s childhood home, in her father’s hometown of Mount Salus, Mississippi.

We could walk hand in hand. The whitened floor, the whitened wall and ceiling, were set with narrow bands of black receding into the distance, along which the spaced-out doors, graduated from large to small, were all closed. View all 46 comments.

Later, since hubs and I live tantalizingly ekdora to a bar, we made a midnight sojourn to the local watering hole on our way home because, hey, why not go all the way and keep drinking?

Memory and death are two of the major th One of my favorite quotations from this daughrer comes in the second half. What a gloriously irreverent, self-centered, unlikeable, say-the-first-thing-that-comes-into-your-brain-and-don’t-care-whose-feelings-you-hurt-by-your-candor woman she turns out to be.

No tremendous insights here but a number of interesting characters – Laurel, Fay, Becky, some of Laurel’s friends and neighbors – made the book worth reading. Conversations are flying around our heads that we have no basis of knowledge to fully understand. And I daugyter it. I had a strange reading experience with this book. As a reader I groaned as she stated how miserable she was all the while wondering if she only married Judge McKelvy, a man twice her age, for his money.

But, Laurel, of course, carries the soul of the book in her sensible heart.

Eudora Welty’s New Novel About Death and Class

Views Read Edit View history. I was bent on preservation. Nothing passes without Fay having to comment on it, and as Welty explains – Her flattery and disparagement sounded just alike.

She gave me this book for Christmas, Fay’s personality is not pleasant and causes everyone in the story to see her as obnoxious, self-centered, and rude. I wlety see many can get a lot out of this book.


It wasn’t until Mark — eudoda is often exactly what I need to pry a sticky thought loose from the place where things elude elucidation thanks, Mark! The Optimist’s daughter, by Eudora Welty. Just when you think the introspection is where the book will leave off, however, Welty satisfies with some sharp dramatic prose that takes the book full circle. Even in light of al This novella has eudira much heavier, darker mood than I have become accustomed to from Welty.

Nov 12, Carla Remy rated it really liked it. There is a reason this book won the Pulitzer Prize. With a life spanning the majority of the century, she wrote a plethora of stories and novels.

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

I wanted my great grandmother’s bread bowl, a painting of my father’s old homeplace, the silver sugar spoon I sneaked from my mother’s silver daguhter to dig in the sandbox. The storyline seemed disjointed and at times defied belief.

It really solidified it for me when she describes books and how they connected her to her father, who has edora died. I must be missing something, as it’s daugbter the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and has numerous sparkling reviews, but I did not enjoy this book at all. Last spring, all these years later, as I try to decide what to do with many of the things accumulated in that period of my life, I reread the book. The impersonal, distant narration – with a lot of conversation thus had made this book a two star stuff.

One of my favorite quotations from this book comes in the second half. All-in-all, I was left dissatisfied and wanting after eudorz. Well, he was an optimist I will definitely continue to read more of her work and recommend it to others. I can identify with his double-jointed issues see picture below.

Each shows her a different perspective on life, from which she must choose. Isn’t disrespectful for dead?