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Interpretation of “Why I Live at the P.O.,” and Its Literary Elements

Plot and Setting

In Why I Live at the P.O. by Eudora Welty, a youthful anonymous lady has all the earmarks of investigating the envy and struggle in her family. The setting of the story is the family home in Mississippi at the turn of the 20th century. By bringing Mr. Whitaker into the account the reader understands that Welty is pitting both the storyteller and her sister Stella-Rondo against one another. There is a feeling of ill will between the two characters, with the storyteller feeling that Stella-Rondo took Mr. Whitaker from her. Likewise, it is intriguing that as the story proceeds with different individuals from the family start to betray or segregate the storyteller. This constant detachment from her family triggers the storyteller to choose that it is the ideal opportunity for her to move out of the family home.

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Themes

One of the subjects which is entirely perceivable is the irreversibility of isolation. In Why I Live at the P.O., people feel segregated even inside in the supporting bounds of the family, large numbers of them taking asylum peacefully. For instance, Shirley-T. is everything except quiet presence. Sister blames her for not being able to talk by and large. On other Fourth of July occasions, Uncle Rondo has overconsumed his doctor prescribed medication, favoring an out cold state to his sharp family (Welty 14). Despite the smothering warmth, Stella-Rondo keeps her room windows locked and shut, fixing herself off from her general surroundings (Welty 13). Sister accepts that Papa-Daddy is hard of hearing or deliberately overlooking people around him since he eliminates himself from the procedures, leaning toward the Isolation of the lounger in the yard. When there is not detaching quietness, characters confine themselves inside blatant lying and miscommunication. For instance, Stella-Rondo persuades Papa-Daddy that Sister offended his facial hair and recommended it be trimmed off when Sister never made such affirmations (Welty 8). The quietness in the story is broken drastically by the stunning sound of the fireworks that Uncle Rondo tosses onto the floor of Sister’s room (Welty 22). The family’s disconnection gets more extreme when Sister plans to move out. Sister chooses to take the radio with her, and without it, the family has viably removed all contact with the rest of the world and are left with their useless gathering.

Another obvious theme that gets the attention is that it is so natural to lie in the introduced family. For every one of the characters in the story by Welty, lying and conscious deceptions of the reality of the situation are more straightforward methods of correspondence than trustworthiness and receptiveness. The relatives lie, overstate, and purposely misconstrue others’ goals and comments. This miscommunication all happens in the family’s regular discussions. Nobody needs an event or motivation to contort reality. For instance, Stella-Rondo claims that she left Mr. Whitaker; however, Sister is persuaded the inverse is valid: “He left her—you mark my words,” Sister says (Welty 28). Instead of sane trades, the relatives embrace cynicism, allegation, and doubt, and such consistency recommends that this conduct has become propensity.

Characters

Stella-Rondo’s situation as the object of commendation and endorsement has hampered her development and self-awareness. Her life has been set apart by hastiness, fretfulness, and an absence of responsibility. Sister recollects Stella-Rondo’s failure to finish gathering pearls for her Add-a-Pearl jewelry when they were youngsters. “She’s always had anything in the world she wanted and then she’d throw it away,” Sister says (Welty 7). Stella-Rondo’s present circumstance with Mr. Whitaker appears to follow that example. Stella-Rondo’s ruined situation in the family and emphasis on seeming unique lead her to overlook troublesome issues and divert upsetting inquiries.

Sister, the critical, shocked storyteller, is an intricate combination of a painfully utilized substitute and self-misled, temperamental storyteller. She remains in the shadow of her sister, Stella-Rondo, who gets back to the family home with her little girl, Shirley-T., brings up Sister’s long-stewing disdain. Her family appears to be reluctant to trust her assertion against Stella-Rondo’s, and Sister is much of the time blamed for making statements she did not say and doing things she did not do. At the point when Uncle Rondo thinks she ridiculed his kimono, he throws a bunch of fireworks into her room (Welty 22). Sister’s situation as the much-mishandled little girl appears to be precise.

Notwithstanding, her persistently sensational analysis and emphasis on working at a consistent breaking point sabotage her supported dissatisfaction. Sister, now and again, appears as weird as the rest and takes part in the analysis and distance as much as any other person. The envy that describes her relationship with Stella-Rondo, particularly over the warm gestures of Mr. Whitaker, draws out her cold streak.

Narrator

Since Sister is the storyteller, each occasion in the story is touched with her offended doubt, and she offers no genuine window into how she feels. Storytellers do not just say what occurred. They make a reality, a world that readers need to continue to accept (von Contzen 253). From the story’s initial section, Sister is hectically constructing her argument against her family, accusing the vast majority of her distress and misery on Stella-Rondo’s unexpected re-visitation of the family home. She relates the shameful acts done to her and plots for compassion from her crowd. She is a talented controller and regularly addresses the crowd straightforwardly to point out especially intolerable offenses. The limit of Sister’s portrayal harms her believability. She has the voice that is deliberately keeping down or moving realities for individual addition.

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Symbols

All through the story, the radio addresses the disagreeable or imperfect correspondence between the relatives. Symbols are essential to communicate the significant elements of an abstract work (Furniss 47). At the point when Stella-Rondo once broke a networking letter, her irate uncle Rondo wrested control of the radio from her. He offered it to Sister, an occurrence that Sister sees as a significant triumph (Welty 20). When it comes time for her to move out of the house, she gladly holds onto the radio, which replaces human contact when she confines herself at the mailing station. She likewise takes one of the solitary associations the family has to the world past their home by taking the radio. This expulsion addresses a new low in the family’s correspondence issues.

For Sister, the mail center addresses both autonomy and capture. It is a departure for Sister, an asylum from her family. Her work as a postmistress gives her a proportion of freedom, and it gives her a spot to go when her life becomes excruciating. Notwithstanding, it is anything but a complete retreat, and her move uncovers how caught she genuinely is inside the long shadow of her family. For instance, Sister got the situation of postmistress simply because of Papa-Daddy’s impact, so in one way, she is getting away from her family to a spot her family gave (Welty 10). Regardless, the more resolvedly Sister broadcasts her freedom from her family, the filthier she demonstrates herself to be. Sister has nothing to come down on without her family, and one thinks about how she would recognize herself separated from her family.

Works Cited

Furniss, Gillian J. “Tapping into Lived Experiences, Creative Practices, and Local Resources with MISSISSIPPI Artist Eudora Welty.” Art Education, vol. 72, no. 3, 2019, pp. 45–49., doi:10.1080/00043125.2019.1578020.

Von Contzen, Eva. “The Limits of Narration: Lists and Literary History.” Style, vol. 50, no. 3, 2016, p. 241., doi:10.5325/style.50.3.0241.

Welty, Eudora. Why I Live at the P.O. Penguin Books, 1995.

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StudyCorgi. "Interpretation of “Why I Live at the P.O.,” and Its Literary Elements." October 15, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/interpretation-of-why-i-live-at-the-p-o-and-its-literary-elements/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Interpretation of “Why I Live at the P.O.,” and Its Literary Elements." October 15, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/interpretation-of-why-i-live-at-the-p-o-and-its-literary-elements/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Interpretation of “Why I Live at the P.O.,” and Its Literary Elements'. 15 October.

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