Eudora Welty’s “The Burning,” Slavery’s Ghosts, and the Politics of Grief
This chapter examines Eudora Welty’s rejection of the Cult of the Lost Cause and its veneration of the Civil War, a conflict she associated with the kind of narcissistic melancholia Judith Butler interrogates in Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence. Grief, Butler argues, can call one’s sense of self into question by providing potent reminders of the self’s dependence upon others and by unraveling the narratives that one begins to tell of oneself. Welty’s lone Civil War story “The Burning,” which closely parodies Gone with the Wind, juxtaposes the self-destructive grief of her southern white ladies who face rape and the destruction of their home with the illuminating mourning borne by their slave Delilah, who grieves for her own losses and for those of her masters, and in doing so signals a liberating break from the past and the possibilities of new identities and new stories.
University Press of Mississippi requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.