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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Delta Wedding by Eudora Welty explores the relationships between members of the Fairchild family, as well as their relations with the world. The other prominent theme, which is hinted in the title, is the portrait of Mississippi Delta culture, in particular, and Southern culture in general.

The other theme is the act of conversing. Communication is an important aspect of the plantation household and is essential to the narrative itself. The dialogue between the characters is a way for them to understand each other. Traditional Southern culture emphasizes discretion, so the characters exert their freedom of speech and freedom of thought within the confines of their plantation. Expression is also a way for the characters to tell their personal histories and to make amends with their respective past.

Another theme examined in the story is the complex social hierarchies and statuses found in Southern culture. The plantation can be viewed as an isolated island with its own self-contained culture, way of life, and unspoken rules. The social structure is akin to royal hierarchies, but the Fairchild family is open to changing their isolated serfdom culture to accommodate "outsiders."

The plantation, however, proves to be too restrictive and socially oppressive for one of these "outsiders," nine-year-old Laura from Jackson, Mississippi. She is visiting her dead mother's family in the plantation and wants to be accepted by the family members. She achieves this, but feels that the plantation will not allow her to grow and create her own identity. In the end, when Laura goes back to Jackson, she is able to take what she has learned during her brief stay at the plantation and still keep her individuality.

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Critical Essays