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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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“We Must Have Your History, You Know”

“We Must Have Your History, You Know”

African/Soul Survivals, Swallowed Lye, and the Medicine-Journey of “A Worn Path”

Chapter:
(p.90) “We Must Have Your History, You Know”
Source:
Teaching the Works of Eudora Welty
Author(s):

Keith Cartwright

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496814531.003.0013

This essay reads Welty's best-known story "A Worn Path" for the ways it works in alignment with a number of West African "survivals" of spiritual form and experience: the initiation process of "seeking," the intergenerational charity work of "saraka," and the wider transcultural traditions of the medicine journey. This essay attends less to the notion of African cultural survivals in the US South than to the notion that soul survival itself has been a trying practice in a space where it has been so much steady work to insist that black lives matter and amidst school systems in which students have steadily swallowed lies or "lye." This essay seeks to raise the stakes of our reading of Welty's powerful medicine journey via the avatar of Phoenix Jackson.

Keywords:   initiation, medicine-journey, seeking, saraka, survivals

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