Ashley James Mrs. Johnson
Honors English 11
26 October 2010
Eudora Welty’s Optimism
In Welty’s The Optimist’s Daughter, many critics agree that the novel emphasizes the future by certain steps (Neckles 160). Welty’s use of the setting helps stress the characters southern influence. Welty hardly ever adventures away from the Mississippi setting of her stories including the Jackson area, cotton farms, Mississippi River, and The Natchez Trace. Even though her relatives were not of southern background, the southern tradition is an important part of her writing (Kieft 20-21). Welty’s use of characters, social class, and marriage portrays to the reader Laurel’s sense of belonging. Eudora Welty was born April 13, 1909 in Jackson, Mississippi. Welty started at the Mississippi College for Women, but she graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1929. Welty also went to Columbia University for a year while studying advertisement. Welty’s first short story appeared in 1936. This slowly began to get published in circulation magazines. After Welty’s first novel was published, she made an end to her writing to take care of her family. Her family consisted of two brothers with severe cases of arthritis and her mother who had a stroke. After Welty’s mother had passed in 1966, she began to write again. Welty won the O. Henry Award for her short stories 6 different times. She also got other awards like The National Medal for Literature, The American Book Award, and a Pulitzer Prize for The Optimist’s Daughter in 1969 (Women’s History 1).
Clint McKelva, the judge, is Laurel’s dad. Becky is the Judge’s former wife, and is the mother of Laurel. The Judge remarries to Wanda Fay. Clint was an optimist. Unfortunately the judge dies due to an eye illness (“The Optimist’s Daughter”). “Laurel McKelva is the complete opposite of Wanda Fay. She is kind-hearted, nice, caring, and...