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Eugena Welty Why I Live at the Po Analysis

By ann51279 Jul 11, 2012 551 Words
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 the bargain, without one moments notice” Sister narrates, clearly showing the resentment she feels over having her workload increased and towards her sister. (Welty 593-597). Then Sister goes on to pint out how she does not believe the child is adopted due to the child’s resemblance to Mr. Whitaker and their own Grandaddy.

At this point in the story the reader sees Sister’s honesty and outspoken nature, which is a strong character trait in the opinion of some readers. While perhaps Sister appears to be unsympathetic and cold towards her sister, as the story progresses and the reader sees the manipulative nature of Stella-Rondo, the reader understands Sister’s apprehension and mistrust of Stella-Rondo. These events also reveal Sister as a round, many-sided character and also a dynamic character, as Sister finally has enough of Stella-Rondo’s antics of turning the family against her after she has worked so hard for them and around the house, as well as having her job at the PO. The change she undergoes by having enough and leaving to find peace makes her a dynamic character.

Works Cited

Welty, Eugena. Why I live at the PO. 10th. New York City: W.W. Norton & Company, 2012. 593-597. Print.

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