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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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“Powerhouse” and the Challenge of African American Representation

“Powerhouse” and the Challenge of African American Representation

Teaching Eudora Welty and Race in an American Literature Survey

(p.84) “Powerhouse” and the Challenge of African American Representation
Teaching the Works of Eudora Welty

Jacob Agner

University Press of Mississippi

This essay discusses how Welty’s 1941 short story “Powerhouse” can be taught in a literary survey as a case study on how a white writer self-consciously engages legacies of racial representation in American literature and culture. Based on Toni Morrison’s statement that Eudora Welty wrote “about black people in a way that few white men have ever been able to write,” this essay positions “Powerhouse” in an American literature survey as a story that casts light on the history and political challenges of racial representation, particularly the representation of African Americans. Eudora Welty can be seen as a white writer aware of styles of literary representation laid forth by legacies as different as blackface minstrelsy and the Harlem Renaissance.

Keywords:   Powerhouse, Racial Representation, Harlem Renaissance, Toni Morrison, Blackface Minstrelsy

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