It's still just as wonderful. Welty writes, " And now Laurel could not get out. Alone in her childhood home, Laurel arrives at an understanding of her parents, the past, and herself. So often we as writers are told that a passive main character makes a boring story, that your main character must take action to drive the plot, not allow the plot to happen to them.
But not many authors can really get to the wrenching, lonely core of grief and loss, and how it can set us free, or lock our emotions and throw away the key.
As long as it's vulnerable to the living moment, it lives for us, and while it lives, and while we are able, we can give it up its due. However, Fay is also younger than Laurel. So too will Miss Welty's novel, perfectly poised between art and the experience she replicates and reconciles at the same time.
Welty leaves judge imprisoned in his own casket.
I especially admired the first part of the book — the hospital drama, with Laurel and her young stepmother locked in a sort of genteel mortal combat for proprietary rights to the Judge's care. It will never be impervious. She is, without a doubt, one of the best remembered and most often quoted southern writers of the 20th century.
After his death, she and her silly young stepmother go back still farther, to the small Mississippi town where she grew up. It concerns a woman named Laurel, who travels to New Orleans to take care of her father, Judge McKelva, after he has surgery for a detached retina.
Passages describing Judge McKelva's appearance allow a clear, detailed picture to form in the reader's mind. Laurel is so scared of this bird that accidentally finds its way into her house, that she traps herself in a room and leaves herself imprisoned.
The memory can be hurt, time and again - but in that may lie its final mercy.
She rediscovers the life of friendship and love that she left behind so many years ago, along with heartache. Fay, though, has always been unwelcome and takes off for a long weekend, leaving Laurel in the big house full of memories. As she burns them she experiences a flood of emotion, and one aspect of her imprisonment is broken down.
The book won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction inand rightfully so. Of course there is a plot, but it's the characters that will be remembered after the last page is turned. Laurel recognizes that her guilt and grief imprison her which enables her to become free.
What makes the novel a delight, is the manner in which we gradually get to know the characters.
Despite her physical stature and age Fay is no older than forty, and so younger than LaurelFay tries to dominate every conversation. And its story has all those qualities peculiar to the finest short novels: And Laurel finds herself in her old family home, trying to deal with Fay, her weird family, and the many well-meaning-but-dense friends that McKelva had over the years.
After all, they're still his guests.
Laurel and Fay are thrown together when they return the Judge to his home town of Mount Salus, Mississippi, where he will be buried. It seemed at first like a flaw in the writing.Complete summary of Eudora Welty's The Optimist's Daughter. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of The Optimist's Daughter.
The Optimist's Daughter Additional Summary. 'The Optimist's Daughter' is the story of Laurel McKelva Hand, a young woman who has left the South and returns, years later, to New Orleans, where her father is dying.
After his death, she and her silly young stepmother go back still farther, to the small Mississippi town where she grew up.3/5(43).
This entry was posted on Thursday, August 27th, at AM and tagged with Eudora Welty, Kathy Reinhart, Literature, The Optimist's Daughter and posted in Book Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS feed. And that is the heart of "The Optimist's Daughter," a dark, quiet little novel set in the midth century South.
Eudora Welty explores a difficult, emotionally wringing topic -- one woman losing the last loved one she had, and the struggle to come to terms with the many people she's lost.
Mar 18, · The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty Vintage International Edition, originally published pages source: personal copy In a nutshell: Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, The Optimist's Daughter is a quiet novel of self-discovery. Eudora Welty’s novel The Optimist’s Daughter is no exception to this generalization as it strongly entails both aspects of memory – remembrance and forgetfulness.
The stark dichotomy of memory can be looked at as both a blessing and a burden.Download