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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 477

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Welty's 1949 collection of short stories takes places in a fictional town of Mississippi called Morgana. She immerses her characters in the culture and language of the South as she explores their lives, trials, and relationships.

Readers receive rich descriptions of the town and its people, especially in the second story, "June Recital":

Morgana was extra deep in smell this afternoon; the magnolias were open all over the tree at the last corner. They glittered like lights in the dense tree that loomed . . . .

That rainless windless June, the bright air and the town of
Morgana, life itself, sunlit and moonlit, were composed and still and china-like.

Beaded curtains in the doorway stirred and clicked now and then during a lesson...the beads were faintly sweet-smelling and made you think of long strings of wine-balls and tiny candy bottles . . . .

The narrator of the first story entitled "Shower of Gold" is Mrs. Rainey, who provides a flowing dialogue of observation and gossip about the town:

Sure, I can churn and talk. My name is Mrs. Rainey.

Welty's style of writing allows the reader to feel as if one if sitting on the front porch of a small home in this southern town, listening to various characters like Mrs. Rainey. For example, Mrs. Rainey describes a man of her town, Old Plez Morgan:

Old Plez Morgan everyone calls him. Lives down beyond me. The real old kind, that knows everybody since time was. He knows more folks than I do, who they are, and all the fine people.

Here, Mrs. Rainey describes a fall day:

The day had a two-way look, like a day will at change of the year—clouds dark and the gold air still in the road, and the trees lighter than the sky was.

One interesting, complex character named King Mclain appears throughout the stories at various times. He leaves his wife Snowdie but later impregnates her during a returned encounter:

But take King: marrying must have been some of his showing off—like man never married at all til he flung in, then had to show the others how he could right on acting.

Known to be a charming but unfaithful man, King is portrayed as a type of mythological character, and people of the town tell true and fictional stories about him:

In the meantime children of his growing up in the County Orphan's, so say several, and children known and unknown, scattered-like.

With men like King, your thoughts are bottomless. He was going like the wind . . . . But I bet my little Jersey calf King tarried long enough to get him a child somewhere.

Throughout each of the stories, readers learn about the complexities of life and love in a small town:

That's what a thing of the flesh is, endless circle . . . . And you won't get away from that in Morgana. Even our little town.

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