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Life of Eudora Welty

Eudora Welty was born in 1909, in Jackson, Mississippi, grew up in a prosperous home with her two younger brothers. Her parent was an Ohio-born insurance man and a strong-minded West Virginian schoolteacher, who settled in Jackson in 1904 after their marriage. Eudora’s school life began attending a white-only school. As born and brought up under strict supervision and influence, at the age of sixteen she somehow convinced her parents to attend college far enough from home, to Columbus, Mississippi and then to Madison, Wisconsin.

After graduation in 1930, she moved to New York to attend Columbia Business School. While living in New York, Harlem Jazz theatre occupied her more than her class did. She returned to Jackson in 1931 following her father’s untimely death, where she worked for a local radio station and also wrote articles for a newspaper. Later she worked as a publicity agent for the Works Progress Administration in 1935. As a part of her job she traveled by car or by bus through the depth of Mississippi, and saw poverty of black and white people, which she had never imagined before. This time photography became her passion.

She was somehow influenced by black and Southern culture as seen in her novel or short story called “Some Notes on River Country” or “A Worn Path”. Eudora Welty’s writing process began as she started using experience from her job as material for short stories. Welty knew that she was starting something new and she Salahuddin 2 did not expect success to come without a struggle. In June 1936 her story “Death of a Traveling Salesman” was published in the Journal Manuscript. Within the next two years her work had appeared in prestigious publication as Atlantic Monthly and the Southern Review.

Many readers liked her collection of short stories in “A Curtain of Green” and predicted that if would lead her to greater achievements as a successful writer. Two years later her two short stories “The Wide Net” and “Other Stories” were highly appreciated by critics such as Robert Penn Warren. Eudora Welty’s primary goal in creating fiction was not only to relate a series of events, but also to convey a stronger sense of her characters of that specific moment in times, always acknowledging the ambiguous nature of reality.

She has written both humorous and tragic stories. Her humorous stories often rely upon the comic possibility of language as in both of her stories, “Why I Live at the P. O. ” and “The Ponder Heart”, which explains the humor in the speech pattern and colorful idiom of their Southern narrators. Welty hasn’t published any new volumes of short stories since “The Bride of Innisfallen” in 1955 and it renewed her interest in fiction. In the early 1970’s to 80’s she wrote many novels and short stories.

Her most complex stories in “The Golden Apples” won critical acclaim, and she received a number of prizes and awards throughout the following decade. She won the William Dean Howell’s Medal of Academy of Arts. Welty also won the letters for her novel “The Ponder Heart”“. In the 1970’s she published two novels, “Losing Battles” and “The Optimist’s Daughter”, which was much more critically successful and won a Pulitzer Prize. Her autobiographical book “One Writer’s Beginnings” is a remarkably useful account of her origins and development as a writer.

Salahuddin 3 For her literary work Eudora Welty has received almost every award a nation can give. She received Freedom Medal of Honor twice from President Jimmy Carter and President Ronald Ragen. Other awards include the Gold Medal for the Novel from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the Bobst Award in Arts and Letters, eight Henry Memorial Prizes, the Howell’s Medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Book Award for Paperback Fiction, The St. Louis Literary Award, the Lillian Smith Award, the Common Wealth Award from the Modern Language Association, the Phi Beta Kappa Association Award, the Rea Award for the Short Story, the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award, and the PEN/Malamud Award. Welty’s portrait was hung in the National Portrait Gallery in 1988 which is a rare instance honoring a living person. In the short story, “Death of A Travelling Salesman,” written by Eudora Welty. The main character of her story is R. J. Bowman, who is a successful salesman but not successful to be loved or to love someone.

After recovering from illness, Bowman heading a place name Beulah, his car goes in to the ditch because of dusty residue on his car that prevent him to see the road. For help to get his car out of ditch, Bowman, goes to a house and knock on the door. An old woman opens the door holding a lamp, and he notices that the lamp she holds is half black and half clear. After listing Bowman’s problem that woman tells him that her husband, Sonny, will be home to get his car out. With the woman lighting the lamp he realizes the effect of the dark cloud over his life.

He finds that his half-life is happy and the other half is full of darkness and sadness. Bowman knows he has never felt love before, and he doesn’t know if he can ever love. He start to feel unwanted in the house, because he finds out that Sonny and the woman Salahuddin 4 are married and are going to have a child. As he is walking out to his car, he started to feel terribly sick. He covered his heart so no one could hear the sound of an aching heart. He covered his heart as he has done all his life, he has covered up the darkness so no one else could see it, and so no one could try and help him.

So finally, he dies as half-happy and half-sad salesman. After a lifetime of refusing to consider teaching a profession too closely associated with her mother, she began to lecture on writing whenever she asked. Eudora Welty will always be remembered for her contributions in the literary world. Her work has been the subject of thousands of academic papers and theses. She is widely regarded as one of the foremost fiction writers not only in America but also in other countries as well. Eudora Welty died unmarried on July 23, 2001 at the age of 92.

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