Alright, Cassandra has been sick all week, but she managed to throw together this review of a short story and asked me to post it:
Every family has problems; sibling rivalry has long been a common practice in houses with multiple children. Eudora Welty creates the perfect situation to portray a common family feud that splits the family over a pair of sisters in “Why I Live at the P.O.”
By writing about universal family problems, Welty is able to slightly exaggerate her story while still keeping the tale focused and realistic. Every character chosen symbolizes common family skeletons. Not only does she bring in the sibling rivalry aspect of families, but she also includes the family drunk, the deaf, patriarchal grandparent, the gullible mother, and the demanding spoiled child. Taking the drama one step farther, she places them all in the same house. The resulting melodrama ensues from the combined forces of her three secondary characters which promote the battle between the two sisters.
Setting her story on the Fourth of July in the small country town of China Grove, Mississippi while World War II commences, Welty is able to paint a concrete picture of Southern country living. Her allusions to these dates and places add realism and serve to counteract the hyperbolized drama, making them appear to be factual occurrences of any ordinary family.
By placing universal characters in a specific place, Welty created the perfect situation where even exaggerated problems were realistic. Because of this, the story was not only enjoyable, but relatable.