Eudora Welty's work has placed her among America's preeminent authors, the first living writer to be published in the "Library of America" series. Known primarily for her short stories, her novels are also highly acclaimed; her last, "The Optimist's Daughter," won the Pulitzer Prize. A lifetime resident of Jackson, Mississippi, Welty had a happy home life and a good education, but the focus of most of her art is on the marginalized people, white and black, whose stories she witnessed and understood. Toni Morrison observed that Welty wrote "about black people in a way that few white men have ever been able to write. It is not patronizing, not romanticizing -- it's the way it should be written." The same could be said about her poor white characters. In her essay, "Must the Novelist Crusade?", Welty says, "The character we care about...we may not approve or agree with -- that's beside the point. But he has got to seem alive. Then and only then, when we read, we experience or surmise things about life itself that are deeper and more lasting and less destructive to understanding than approval or disapproval." We will discuss "A Worn Path," "Where Is the Voice Coming From?", and "The Whistle."
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