In Eugena Welty’s story “Why I live at the PO” the reader is quickly introduced to the main character and narrator of the story. While Welty does not identify the character by name, except to refer to her as “Sister”, Welty does directly and indirectly introduce the character. The reader is given a bit of background on the character especially about the relationship between the main character and her younger sister, which is the driving force of the plot. This is the direct characterization. Then Welty also gives a bit of information indirectly about Sister as well.
As the story begins the reader quickly learns that Sister, the main character and narrator, has a younger sister, younger by exactly one year to the day. This immediately suggests rivalry of sorts between the sisters. As Sister talks about her younger sister, Stella-Rondo, it is immediately clear to the reader that Sister is resentful towards Stella-Rondo and has been since they were children. “She’s always had anything in the world she’s wanted and than she’d throw it away” sister says of Stella-Rondo.(Welty 593-597). The reader also learns that sister has been living at home with her family “getting along just fine” since Stella-Rondo got married and moved to Illinois with Mr. Whitaker, who Sister dated first.(Welty 593-597). Stella-Rondo has now just returned home upon being separated from her husband.
Sister also includes the information that Stella-Rondo stole Mr. Whittaker from her sister by telling him lies about Sister. This information solicits sympathy from the reader for Sister as a character and helps the reader understand why Sister may just be a bit bitter towards Stella-Rondo. Sister is portrayed to be a hard working member of the family, as she is preparing a meal when Stella-Rondo shows up toting her child of two that no one in her family knew she had adopted. “There I was over the hot stove, trying to stretch two chickens over five people and a completely unexpected child into...
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