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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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Matters of Life and Death

Matters of Life and Death

Teaching Welty in a Course on Death, Dying, and Funerals in Southern Literature

Chapter:
(p.48) Matters of Life and Death
Source:
Teaching the Works of Eudora Welty
Author(s):

David A. Davis

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496814531.003.0007

This chapter discusses teaching Eudora Welty’s novel The Optimist’s Daughter in a course on deathways in southern literature. Deathways are the social and cultural practices surrounding the human experience of death. Welty’s novel challenges the notion of a good death and illustrates the customs and rituals of grief, burial, the funeral industry, and memory in the mid-century South. Students in the course described in the chapter compared Welty’s depiction of death to the works of several other southern writers and addressed complicated issues of burdensome memory, death symbolism, and social construction of death.

Keywords:   Death, Grief, Memory, Funeral industry, The Optimist’s Daughter

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