One Writer's Beginnings Essay - Masterplots II: Women’s Literature Series One Writer's Beginnings Analysis

Eudora Welty

Masterpieces of Women's Literature One Writer's Beginnings Analysis

The central purpose of One Writer’s Beginnings is Welty’s exploration of what it is that makes a writer become a writer and what it is that sets a writer apart from others. Welty tries to answer these questions in two basic ways: by describing the actual events and details of her life that she transforms into the stuff of story and by meditating on the meaning of these sources of her fiction-making. The central key to the secret of the writer, Welty seems to suggest, is his or her ability to determine the difference between mere events and “significant” events. A relation of mere events may be simply a chronological retelling, while significant events follow what Welty calls a “thread of revelation.” That phrase perhaps is the best description of the structure of One Writer’s Beginnings, for the book develops a continuous related thread of individual moments of revelation and meaning.

Some of the important points along this thread involve Welty’s gradual awareness of what she calls “the voice of story.” She recalls hearing her mother read stories to her, but it is not her mother’s voice she hears; she says that when she writes she hears her own words in the same voice that she hears when she reads. Welty also recalls when neighbors were invited to go on a Sunday drive in the family car and she would sit in the backseat between her mother and a friend and say, “Now talk.” It was in this way that she...

(The entire section is 576 words.)