Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Pearl A. McHaney

Second Advisor

Malinda Snow

Third Advisor

Thomas McHaney

Abstract

Eudora Welty’s sense of place is often discussed by scholars, but they have limited their discussions of place in Welty’s texts to place as region or, more specifically, the South. In so doing, Welty is often pigeonholed as a regionalist writer. Looking at the home when considering place makes Welty’s texts more universal and appealing to readers of all regions and countries. Every individual either has a home or longs for one; all understand the pull toward a home of some kind. Using the theoretical lens of social and psychological theories of space, place, and the home, this study presents a close reading of the homes in Eudora Welty’s Delta Wedding and The Optimist’s Daughter. In addition, archival research from the Eudora Welty collection at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History aids in understanding how drafting the stories and the ways in which the stories evolved add to a reading of home in the texts. In her famous essay “Place in Fiction,” Welty asks, “What place has place in fiction?” (781). In analyzing the role of the home in Welty’s fiction, the reader must ask: What place has the home in fiction? Analyzing the homes in Delta Wedding and The Optimist’s Daughter reveals the characters’ identities – both individual and collective identities, and in so doing, it allows the reader to better understand the motives behind the characters’ actions and reactions.

Share

COinS