Explain Eudora Welty’s definition of “place” as it relates to Southern fiction, including the specific function of “place” in "Why I Live at the P.O."

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Eudora Welty's "Why I Live in the P.O." the sense of place is of paramount importance because it directs the point of view of the narrator, Sister.  For, it is out of her own experience and its personal interpretation that this character directs and interprets the incidences of the narrative; place, as Welty writes, is Sister's "base of reference."Of course, for all of us, this sense of place plays an integral part in how we view the world since knowledge depends always upon one's experiences and conditioning.  With Sister, her lifelong rivalry with Stella-Rondo slants her interpretation of anything that she says or is said about her.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a great topic to examine in the literature of Eudora Welty, especially in stories such as 'The Worn Path' and 'Why I Live at the PO.' Certainly belonging and place are important concepts, as is the relationship between the people that live in a location and the environment itself. You might want to talk about the importantance of having a place to the narrator in 'Why I Live at the PO' and her satisfaction at being able to make her escape, however partial that escape is.

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Why I Live at the P.O.

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