udora Welty’s novel, “The Optimist’s Daughter,” which first appeared in The New Yorker of March 15, , is a miracle of compression, the kind. The Optimist’s Daughter. By Eudora Welty · March 15, P. The New Yorker, March 15, P. Laurel’s father, Judge McKelva, died in the hospital 3. The Optimist’s Daughter () by Eudora Welty is primarily a story about place, position, and values, although it does also touch on familial.

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Well, he was an optimist Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. I have spent so much time entrenched in the long-held belief that anyone who opted for five words when twice as many could be deployed just as easily is guilty of not trying hard enough. She seems astonishingly accepting of the fact that the horrid Fay has been left the house and all of its possessions. This book may very well haunt you.

I must be missing something, as it’s won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and has numerous sparkling reviews, but I did not enjoy this book at all. Return to Optiist Page. When her husband, Judge McKelva is diagnosed with a slipped retina, she declares, “I don’t see why this had to happen to me.

Clint McKelva is Laurel’s father.

Surviving is perhaps the strangest fantasy of them all. Having lived in Jackson for her entire life, Welty could have been writing about her own town, and she describes this town in an intimate manner. It will never be impervious.

The Optimist’s Daughter

Not much insight is given into her motivation, even with the introduction of her backwards family. Her embarrassment over the arrival of her white trash relatives from Texas, the relatives she rhe were dead, was almost touching.

But this was a happy occasion that called for minimum mutual griping — and, while Little Bro’s girlfriend is well-versed in just how deeply fucked up our parents are and understands our need for the sporadic bitch optimidt, I tend to clam up about such things around her, as her much more loving mother died when she was thd, leaving FSIL at the mercy of both a father and step-father who did not treat her at all like her good-hearted self deserves.


Thw Learn how and when to remove this template message. Unlike me, Laurel had to cope not only with the death of her father, but the persistent and annoying presence of her “evil” new stepmother, Fay. Additionally, I felt the characters grossly underdeveloped. In her later life, she lived near Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi, where, despite her fame, she was still a common sight among the people of her hometown.

When I went back to North Carolina a few years ago on a research trip, the smells and iptimist of the land and the air hit me like a shout of remembering. It wasn’t until Mark — who is often While I do tend potimist take my sweet time moseying toward a review after finishing a book, stewing both over and in my thoughts for often days at a time before taking the perfectionist’s route to laboring over my words or slapping some observations together to see what sticks and hoping that xaughter one points out the crooked seams or varicolored threadstrying to sort and figure out what I want to say about The Optimist’s Daughter was an especially difficult task.

Her characters are generally likable at some level.

The horrible stepmother in The Optimist’s Daughter, by Eudora Welty

With Fay, the stupid young wife of her father, Laurel returns to her former Mississippi home and stays a few days after the funeral for reunions with old friends. He is an Arab who is placed with twelve Norse warriors on a quest and he doesn’t know a single word of their language, but he keeps listening. Laurel is alone in the world, having lost her mother, her husband, and now her father.

But Laurel is wise.

She must come to terms with this loss. But through the homecoming, and the funeral, Welty shows us more depth to Fay than we would have believed possible. As pesky as a gnat and as prone to tantrums as a spoiled child, she is undoubtedly irritating. Laurel and Fay are thrown together when they return the Judge to his home town of Mount Salus, Mississippi, where he will be buried.


So, I feel like we should be “speaking” the same language in many ways. The exaggerated and loud voices nervously chatting up the good qualities of the deceased.

So the key to this book was to keep listening. And it’s not Judge McKelva’s daughter, Laurel. Her stellar work personifying the southern genre of writing won multiple awards over the span of her lifetime. Gaye Ingram Have you read it?

I always think of myself in these situations as the Antonio Banderas character from the superb movie The thirteenth Warrior.

The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty

The tables heavily laden with hams, vegetables, casseroles. While she is still in a way grieving for both her mother and husband, her friends and neighbors come out in droves to assist her in mourning her father, a revered man in Mount Scalus.

Fay wasn’t bright enough or patient enough to just listen, nod, and accumulate knowledge. After the Judge passes, the majority of the novel is set in Laurel’s childhood home, in her father’s hometown of Mount Salus, Mississippi.

The Optimist’s Daughter – Wikipedia

One of my Freaky Double-Jointed Thumbs This can be a confusing book, but my advice is to hang in there. She clearly desires to refuse Fay anything she wants, or any advantage Laurel might regret. This novella has a much heavier, darker mood than I have become accustomed to from Welty.

Nothing passes without Fay having to comment on it, and as Welty explains – Her flattery and disparagement sounded just alike. She weltu dreams of him. The book immediately established Welty as one of American literature’s leading lights and featured the legendary and oft-anthologized stories “Why I Live at the P.

Optimistically, the writing was powerful enough to warrant the Pulitzer Prize. Oh yeah, this did win the Pulitzer Prize dahghter fiction in the early s. Hardcoverpages.