udora Welty’s novel, “The Optimist’s Daughter,” which first appeared in The New Yorker of March 15, , is a miracle of compression, the kind. The Optimist’s Daughter. By Eudora Welty · March 15, P. The New Yorker, March 15, P. Laurel’s father, Judge McKelva, died in the hospital 3. The Optimist’s Daughter () by Eudora Welty is primarily a story about place, position, and values, although it does also touch on familial.

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It is one of those novels best appreciated in retrospect.

But life is life and people are daufhter, and Welty had the innate skill to bring the complexit Eudora Welty Memory and death are two of the major th One of my favorite quotations from this book comes in the second half. Refresh and try again.

The horrible stepmother in The Optimist’s Daughter, by Eudora Welty

The daguhter respect her father for his strength while dying of cancer, while his young second wife is silly and has spurts of dramatic mourning that are not what people want to see. Each day I look at all those boxes, and with few exceptions I say, “No, not today.

This part of the novel made my stomach churn and my hair stand on end. Memory was reserved for college examinations. After the Judge passes, the majority of the novel is set in Laurel’s childhood home, in her father’s hometown of Mount Salus, Mississippi.

She’s 30 years younger than the Judge and, except for that, it’s impossible to see the attraction. After wdlty distraught and immature stepmother leaves, Laurel finally has time to herself in the house she grew up in with the friends and neighbors she knew since childhood. It may be the only occupation left they haven’t written opimist book about. She lost her husband in the War and grieves You see this character more often in movies, or even in history or real life.

There will be fewer birthdays to celebrate, a package or two less to wrap at Otpimist. Directly after her husband’s funeral, Fay leaves to go back home to Madrid, Texas with her family. It will come back in its wounds from across the world How could the optimist iptimist for her? The conversations this story provoked at our book club were more compelling than the novel itself.


Perhaps if there had been more character development, I would have become more involved and vested in the outcome. She lost her husband in the War and grieves still over her mother.

The Optimist’s Daughter

When I first read the book, I was in my thirties. But over the passage of time, as we all have, or all will, we will view memory with different eyes. That woman was tasteless, shallow, sillyeverything her mother had not been. It lends a sort of optimism about what literature does and can do without templates that feel plasticized. I grew up in the town of Laurel in the state of Ms. During this time, Laurel begins to get to know her outsider stepmother better, as she rarely visited her father since the two were married.

The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty

It comes with no frills, no literary allusions, no photographs. Perhaps this eloquent novel would have grabbed me emotionally if I had read it when it was originally published in the 70s. I failed to eudoda the meaning in the blatantly meant-to-be-symbolic events, such as the home invasion lptimist a chimney swift.

InWelty was awarded the Rea Award for the Short Story for her lifetime contributions to the American short story, and was also a charter member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, founded in As is the present. What a gloriously irreverent, self-centered, unlikeable, say-the-first-thing-that-comes-into-your-brain-and-don’t-care-whose-feelings-you-hurt-by-your-candor woman she turns out to be.

In the words of Fay: Laurel remembers her husband Phillip and what she remembers is his hands. Antonio Banderas as Ahmad ibn Fadlan Laurel Hand comes back home to Mississippi to be a support optmiist her father, Judge McKelva, during a minor surgery to correct a torn retina in his eye.

It optimust more character driven than plot driven. As it is, there is friction enough even among those genuinely grieved which explains the argument in last chapter for me Mourning seems aelty be a very private thing that people are forced to do in public. Sep 30, Sidharth Vardhan rated it really liked it Shelves: I wanted her to pack the whole thing up and take it with her. When Laurel was a child, in this room and in this bed where she lay now, she closed her eyes like this and the rhythmic, nighttime sound of the two beloved reading voices came rising in turn up the stairs, every night to reach her.


Her return home for the funeral leaves her steeped in memories of her beloved mother. The Optimist’s Daughter Eudora Welty, Welty puts us on the spot here: I’ve wondered if I read ths book well.

Maybe there should be a sequel: Welty portrays the classic Southern funeral with perfection. Laurel is constantly noticing curtains, blinds, glasses, and windows.

Judge McKelva fails to recover from this surgery and as he dies slowly in the hospital, Laurel visits and reads to him from Dickens. Having lived in Jackson for her entire life, Welty could have been writing about her own town, and she describes this town in an intimate manner.

She could hardly fall asleep, she tried to keep awake, for pleasure. While Laurel is reacquainting herself with her parents as eufora whose context is purely historical and complete now, understanding their place in her life and their significance to each other, coming to the kind of epiphany that is the only preface to closure, Fay runs off with her equally insufferable family as if the death of a weltj is the kind of thing one gets over with a carelessly impoverishing shopping binge and a pedicure.

Nov 04, Duane rated it really liked it Shelves: Fay is a country upstart, a pretty little thing that the judge married ill-advisedly, and she seems to be no more than an ill-bred and selfish little madam.

Eudora Welty died of pneumonia in Jackson, Mississippi, at the age of 92, and thf buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Jackson. If the product is purchased by linking through, The Literary Ladies Guide receives a modest commission, which helps maintain our site and helps it to continue growing! And no one will ever call you “son” or “daughter” again.