The Depiction of Family Relationships in Eudora Welty’s Why I Live at the P. O,

April 27, 2022 by Essay Writer

Eudora Welty who is an enormously creative, has wrote a lot of story with numerous genre. Majored in English Literature at college and has passion in reading since child were a great factor why she can write a fascinating story. Even her first short story entitled ‘Death of a Traveling Salesman’ has been recognised by a well-known authors Katherine Anne Porter. In the mid-1930s, Welty who worked as publicity photographer saw a lady ironing in the back room of a small rural post office. Eventually, that event has inspired her to write a story related to lady of that post office entitled ‘Why I Live at the P.O.’.

The main character of the short story is anonymous but given a nickname, Sister. She has a bad relationship with her younger sister, Stella who is also the antagonist of the story. At first, Sister lives happily with her family before Stella came back home after years with her adopted child because of her failed marriage with Mr.Whitaker. To Sister, Stella has turn her peaceful life into a rollercoaster. At one point, Sister thinks she already had enough of Stella and her family which were not going to trust her forever. So, it’s about time for her to leave them and work alone at the Post Office. By the story reach the ending, we can see how Eudora Welty clearly tried to tell us about her life journey. She used to be very happy with her family and her father. However, one day she lost her father and could felt the emptiness. The emptiness of someone who can comfort her when she’s feeling down. Even though she can continue her life joyfully with work, she can’t denied that family love is number one rule for real happiness. Welty could pretend to be happy in front of everyone but nobody knows how she truly felt. For example, in the story Sister said “But here I am and here I’ll stay. I wants the world to know that I am happy.” Sister said she’s happy but everyone knows how can someone became happy and doesn’t feel the burden of leaving the family after five day. Moreover she never live alone and be independent before.

The story also has showed us the theme of jealous, conflict, independence, escape, isolation and honesty. In 1930s, Welty was not in her state of mind because of her beloved father’s death so she has portrayed herself into the main character of her short story. Throughout the story, we can see how stressful the Sister is to deal with her younger sister, Stella-Rondo. At first, both Sister and Stella were pitting against each other because of Mr.Whitaker which lead them to not-so-good relationship. At the same time in mid 1930s, there was a Great Depression in 1931 crisis which meant to happen before the time Welty wrote the book. Great Depression is a crisis where severe world wide faced economic downturn. This situation substantially influenced Welty to construct more complex story line. As we went deep down the story, antagonist became animosity by convince the Papa-Daddy that Sister can’t understand why he doesn’t cut off his beard since it first appeared. Little did he know the Sister never make such assertion but he has put his trust too much on Stella. Although this may seem to be inconsequential, it literally has create a war between Papa Daddy and Sister because it was a sensitive issue to be brought up with Papa-Daddy. To make things worse, Stella also tried to isolate Sister from the whole family member by told Uncle Rondo that Sister said he looked foolish while wearing the kimono in the garden. She said it right after Sister were having argument with her mother about Stella’s adopted daughter which made Mama totally lost her trust toward Sister.

Till the end of the story, we perceived that the writer used flashback in certain time to shape a remarkable story so that the reader can immersed and be more sympathised toward the main character. From the line, “ of course I went with Mr. Whitaker first, when he first appeared here in China Grove, taking ‘Pose Yourself’ photos, and Stella-Rondo broke us up.”, we aware that Stella without guilt take her sister’s boyfriend and make him as hers. Apparently the writer wanted to show us how Sister has been hurt badly from the start by her cruel sister. Another obvious event that used flashback is when both Sister and Stella still child, Stella was given anything she wanted and then threw it away. As evidence, “Papa-Daddy gave her this gorgeous Add-a-Pearl neck lace when she was eight years old and she threw it away playing baseball when she was nine….” The writer clearly wants to point out that Sister has been living an unfair life since she was a child. The writer only mention that Stella got the necklace but doesn’t mention if Sister also got one or not and the intonation of the line before and after this line seem to be jealousy.

In conclusion, ‘Why I live at P.O.’ has manifest how some family in real life act. In reality, some family tend to fond one particular daughter or son while neglect the others. The others would feel bad and will isolate themselves from the family slowly but surely if the parents doesn’t take a right action as a good parents. The description of the main character is labelled as a hard-hearted woman as she still be patient when her sister accused and slandered her. Not to mention that her whole family mistreated her too. She also dare to be independence by living on herself after the big fight with her family. Same goes to Eudora Welty who used to work alone and tried to be independent by herself when she work as a resident lecturer at universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

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