The Golden Apples Analysis
by Eudora Welty

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The Golden Apples Analysis

The Golden Apples largely revolves around the small town of Morgana, Mississippi, and tells the stories of its inhabitants. As the stories unfold, it becomes clear how all of the inhabitants' lives are linked together.

The main characters of The Golden Apples are the MacLains. The MacLain house was built for King MacLain and his albino wife, Snowdie Hudson, who is the daughter of the Crossroads storekeeper. King MacLain is unfaithful and rebellious, and he soon leaves his wife and young twin sons to chase after other women. Snowdie takes in boarders to make ends meet, which eventually results in a boarder setting fire to the MacLain home. By the final story, "The Wanderers," the house is gone.

Your analysis of The Golden Apples could include thoughts on how the MacLain twins' shaky upbringing shaped their lives. Both Randall and Eugene have interpersonal struggles and marital trouble, largely as a result of their father leaving when they were so young.

Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Morgana

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 Rabbit.” Here Eugene MacLain, exiled in far-off San Francisco, feels the call of home as he pictures his twin Ran still hunting the familiar hills and gullies of the Woods in “Music from Spain.”

Moon Lake

Moon Lake. In the story of the same name, Moon Lake refers both to the lake itself and the girls’ camp on its shore. The camp was modeled on an actual camp Eudora Welty attended as a child, Camp McLaurin in Rankin County, Mississippi, near Welty’s hometown of Jackson. The overhanging willows, the mud bottom and dark mud-stirred waters, the threat of cottonmouth moccasins in the water, the adjacent swamp all evoke a primordial quality in this intense story where life hangs in the balance.

*Vicksburg

*Vicksburg. Mississippi city. When Ran MacLain wants to get even with his unfaithful wife Ginny Love Stark in “The Whole World Knows,” it is Vicksburg where he goes to seduce the innocent country girl Maideen Sumrall. Nineteen miles and another world away, Vicksburg offers Prohibition liquor on a river barge, a midnight drive through the eerie Confederate and Union monuments of the Vickburg National Military Park, and an illicit night at the decrepit Sunset Oaks Cabins.

*San Francisco

*San Francisco. Fifteen...

(The entire section is 1,180 words.)