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Teaching the Works of Eudora WeltyTwenty-First-Century Approaches$
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Mae Miller Claxton and Julia Eichelberger

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781496814531

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496814531.001.0001

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How She Wrote and How We Read

How She Wrote and How We Read

Teaching the Pleasure and Play of Welty’s Modernist Techniques

Chapter:
(p.24) How She Wrote and How We Read
Source:
Teaching the Works of Eudora Welty
Author(s):

Harriet Pollack

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496814531.003.0004

This essay stresses the pleasure created by Welty’s nonfulfillment of readers’ expectations. It models how to steer students to enjoy the swerves in four short stories– “Lily Daw and the Three Ladies,” “A Memory,” “Powerhouse,” and “The Wide Net”–as a lesson to take forward to other of her fictions. Drawing on reader response theory, it considers the interactions between reader and writer in the interpretative process and identifies Welty’s signature modernist techniques for guiding a reader, artistic maneuvers that make use of a reader's literary memory and competence while creating delight by veering from literary convention. Techniques discussed include Welty’s characteristic play with point of view and focalization, with plot and detail, with allusion and genre, as well as with humor, parody, and with “the female swerve,” –-a woman's dissident revoicing of literary history's familiar narratives.

Keywords:   modernism, the short story, reader response theory, surprised expectation, A Curtain of Green and Other Stories

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