Welty’s Myth and Images
The Optimist’s Daughter, by Eudora Welty is written with much intricacy and deserves the time of its readers to fully uncover the depth the novel holds. The novel in some ways resembles Welty’s own life as she lost both her mother and brother compared to the loss of her protagonist character’s mother and father. Staying with the fiction genre of the novel, Welty includes characters such as Fay to throw in a level of dramatic interest for the readers within the storyline. Eudora Welty’s use of distinct images and myth reference add another layer to her storyline.
Eudora Welty begins early in her novel with the use of imagery describing vision and blindness. The story uses a plethora of different contexts and variety of meaning for these two symbols such as light and dark. A family readers are introduced to while at the hospital is named the Dalzells, which seem to the reader as ignorant and therefore are connected to the idea of darkness.
Throughout Welty’s novel the use of repetitive words plays a huge role in completely understanding the underlying meaning of the text. Eyesight words become a major motif not only on a surface level, but deeper as well. The uses of water words as well connect many of Welty’s main ideas and develop them further. The Judge, Becky, and Laurel are all connected by water, by either holding back tears or the importance of a favorite poem. Words relating to water and eyesight both guide Laurel to the discovery of the optimism within herself later in the novel.
Two other words of emphasis Welty subtly places within her text are hands and birds. The hands functions and everything a hand can do are links to earlier mentions of blindness. Hands can see through braille connecting characters such as Dot. As well as capturing the importance of Welty’s use of the word blunder as though implying not being able to see. The importance of memory in the novel is overwhelming and birds accompany this...
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