Historical Context

(Novels for Students)

Life in the South
The small town of Mount Salus represents the gentility and social life of the traditional South....

(The entire section is 485 words.)

Literary Style

(Novels for Students)

Perhaps because The Optimist's Daughter is a short novel, Welty includes elements of contrast to...

(The entire section is 810 words.)

Literary Techniques

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

As in her earlier work, Welty displays an outstanding eye for detail and ear for dialect, which contributes to the believability of her...

(The entire section is 460 words.)

Social Concerns

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Like her fellow Mississippian William Faulkner, Eudora Welty deals with the conflicting behavioral codes of the waning southern gentry and...

(The entire section is 357 words.)

Bibliography and Further Reading

(Novels for Students)

Bailey, Beth, "Manners and Etiquette," in Encyclopedia of American Social History, Charles Scribner's...

(The entire section is 344 words.)


(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

Champion, Laurie, ed. The Critical Response to Eudora Welty’s Fiction. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1994. In her introduction, Champion presents an overview of the criticism on Welty’s fiction. Five separate essays by different scholars are devoted to various aspects of The Optimist’s Daughter. Includes a helpful bibliography of works for further reading.

Fuller, Danielle. “ Making a Scene’: Some Thoughts on Female Sexuality and Marriage in Eudora Welty’s Delta Wedding and The Optimist’s Daughter.The Mississippi Quarterly 48 (Spring, 1995): 291-318. A study of how Welty’s female...

(The entire section is 272 words.)

Compare and Contrast

(Novels for Students)

1970s: After the death of a loved one, the family has the choice of having the body viewed at home or at the funeral parlor....

(The entire section is 244 words.)

Topics for Further Study

(Novels for Students)

Consult psychology textbooks and journals on the subject of grief. From a psychological point of view, how would you evaluate Laurel's ways...

(The entire section is 310 words.)

Related Titles

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Perhaps the clearest parallel to The Optimist's Daughter is Welty's first full-length novel, Delta Wedding (1946). Both works...

(The entire section is 122 words.)

Media Adaptations

(Novels for Students)

Random House has produced two audio-book adaptations of The Optimist's Daughter, an unabridged version in 1986 and an abridged version...

(The entire section is 27 words.)

What Do I Read Next?

(Novels for Students)

Eudora Welty (Modern Critical Views: Contemporary Americans) (1986), by noted literary scholars Harold Bloom and

(The entire section is 191 words.)