21 Feb 2013
In the story of “Why I Live at the P.O.,” Sister is consistently picked on by everyone in her family, forcing her to isolate herself and move out. But is she really happy with the decision she made? On the Fourth of July, Sister’s life in China Grove is interrupted by the arrival of her sister, Stella-Rondo, who just left her husband, Mr. Whitaker, and returned to the family home in Mississippi. Sister had briefly dated Mr. Whitaker before Stella-Rondo became engaged to him. When Stella-Rondo returns to the family household for attention and support after the breakup of her marriage, she easily takes her position as the favorite. Though Sister begs wildly for respect, Stella-Rondo is more skilled at getting sympathy, and she easily brushes Sister aside to win the spotlight. Stella-Rondo arrives accompanied by Shirley-T, a little girl Stella-Rondo claims is her legally adopted daughter. The rest of the family were just delighted with Stella-Rondo’s return and did not share Sister’s suspicion that Shirley-T. was actually Stella-Rondo’s biological daughter. When Sister questions Shirley-T.’s doubtful lies, Stella-Rondo angrily orders Sister to never mention the anything on the subject again. The author uses a first-person point of view to arouse a sense of sympathy from the reader. The story is told from the Sister’s perspective and describes Stella as being spoiled and having everyone turn against her. The author starts to introduce the Sister's circumstances early on in the story. Stella-Rondo recently returning home after separating from her husband immediately begins to cause chaos in the household. For example, at dinner, Stella-Rondo says to Papa-Daddy, "Sister says she fails to understand why you don't cut off your beard?" Being fully aware that this was a very sensitive subject with him, Stella-Rondo viciously blames Sister for her doing. The Sister obviously knows that this was a beard he had grown...
Cited: Welty, Eudora. Why I Live at the P.O. The Norton Introduction to Literature. 10th ed. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2010. 791-800. Print.
Coulehan, Jack. "Why I Live at the P.O." Literature Annotations. Harvest Books. Web. 20 Feb. 2013
Toppert, Lindsay. " Why I Live at the P.O." Short Story Analysis: Irony and Why I Live at the P.O. Web. 20 Feb. 2013.
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