Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


Morgana. Mississippi town about nineteen miles from Vicksburg, by way of a gravel road that crosses thirteen little bridges and the bridge over the Big Black River, Morgana is little more than a wide place in the road. From the MacLain house at one end of the road to the Starks’ at the other, each story is set in Morgana or draws on the emotional ties that Morgana exerts on its sons and daughters. As one story after another unfolds, the reader pieces together the whole cloth that is the communal life of Morgana’s inexorably linked inhabitants.

MacLain house

MacLain house. In its outlying position at the end of the road that runs through Morgana, the MacLain house was built for two outsiders, King MacLain of nearby MacLain Courthouse and his albino wife Snowdie Hudson, daughter of the storekeeper at Crossroads. From the beginning, the life of the house seems doomed: “Shower of Gold” tells of the unfaithful King, a rambler who leaves his wife and twin sons to struggle on alone, and the always hopeful Snowdie, who finally moves back to her own people when she can no longer keep the house up. In “June Recital,” the children of the Morrison house next door watch in fascination as the MacLain house is set afire by the old spinster boarder who once gave piano lessons there. By the last story, “The Wanderers,” the house too is gone, although the townspeople still refer to the lot as the old MacLain place.

Morgan’s Woods

Morgan’s Woods. Old-growth southern forest of magnolia, oak, and cedar functions metaphorically as the dark place of danger in several of the collection’s stories. Here Snowdie MacLain goes to meet the returning King in “Shower of Gold.” Here the simple-minded Mattie Will Holifield has sexual encounters with both King and his twin sons in “Sir...

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(Great Characters in Literature)

Devlin, Albert J., ed. Welty: A Life in Literature. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1987. Includes Yaeger’s essay, “Because a Fire Was in My Head: Eudora Welty and the Dialogic Imagination,” which analyzes the importance of gender and sexuality in The Golden Apples and explores the work’s dialogue with Yeats’s poetry. Also includes general articles on Welty and an annotated checklist of Welty criticism.

Kreyling, Michael. Eudora Welty’s Achievement of Order. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1980. One of the best book-length studies of Welty’s fiction. Focuses on the development of Welty’s fictional technique and the growth of her aesthetic sensibility and unique voice.

Prenshaw, Peggy W., ed. Eudora Welty: Thirteen Essays. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1983. Includes two excellent essays on Greek and Celtic mythology in The Golden Apples: “Golden Apples and Silver Apples” and “Technique as Myth: The Structure of The Golden Apples.” Also includes general essays on Welty’s fiction.

Schmidt, Peter. The Heart of the Story: Eudora Welty’s Short Fiction. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1991. A clearly written and accessible feminist and historicist study of Welty’s stories. Explores the mixture of comedy and tragedy and the patterns of gender difference in The Golden Apples. An excellent starting point for serious study.

Vande Kieft, Ruth M. Eudora Welty. Rev. ed. Boston, Mass.: Twayne, 1987. The best beginner’s source on Welty, despite more recent scholarship. Analyzes the structure, themes, and characters with a focus on the mystery and duality at the heart of Welty’s fiction.