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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

Chapter:
(p.84) “Powerhouse” and the Challenge of African American Representation
Source:
Teaching the Works of Eudora Welty
Author(s):

Jacob Agner

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496814531.003.0012

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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