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The story “Why I live at the P.O” written by Eudora Welty is a story that takes the form of dramatic monologue. The main character by the name “Sister” who is a first-person narrator, gives the story of her side of the family spat which served to her to leave the home of the family in which she had stayed up to the time she became an adult and moves into the local post office (“Why I Live at the P.O.: Introduction.”).
This character appeals to the reader of the story to take the side to which she stands as she resentfully recounts the unjust maneuvers of her sister in making the whole family turn against her. However, the self-pity she has as well as the exaggeration causes the position she takes humorously, though not intentionally. Even if this story is comic, the themes that are underlying in this story are far much complex, regarding the tensions between family independence and family attachment, the relative nature of truth, as well as the distinctiveness and narrowness of life in small southern community.
Character analysis (Sister)
Sister is a cynical, irritated narrator of this story. This character is a complex mixture of greatly utilized scapegoats and self-deluged narrator as well as a narrator who is not reliable. This character stands in her sister’s shadow by the name Stella-Rondo. The return of Stella-Rondo’s return with her daughter boils up to Sister’s return resentment and jealousy. Her family does not show any willingness to believe the words she says against those words of Stella-Rondo. Following this, Sister faces constant accusations of saying things she didn’t say.
At the time Uncle Rondo gets annoyed with Sister’s making fun of the kimono he had, this causes him to toss a pack of firecrackers in her bedroom. The position of Sister as a daughter who is much abused seems to be eminent. However, the dramatic commentary that was unrelenting that she had as well as the persistence she had on operating at a steady fever pitch weaken her justified frustration.
Even though no person in the family seems to be fully sane, frequently, Sister tends to be as strange as the others and takes part in criticizing as well as alienation to the same level as any other person. The jealousy she has which characterizes her relationship with her sister Stella-Rondo, and mostly over the affections of Mr. Whitaker, exposes her cruel line.
Based on the fact that the marriage of Stella-Rondo has hit the rocks, in practical terms gives delight to Sister. She even mocks her sister, Stella-Rondo regarding the abandonment of Mr. Whitaker pointing out that “I knew from the beginning he’d up and leave her” (Welty, 155). She even goes to the extend of mimicking Shirley-T and gives a suggestion that Shirley-T has a developmental disability.
Sister is seen to be determined to give prove that her sister has not told the truth about the parentage of her daughter; not allowing the issue goes even at a time it is seen that there will be no admitting by Stella-Rondo that what her sister is saying is right.
Even if from the standpoint of Sister it appears she has moved away from her home to the post office, based on her record, it is established that the transgressions she engaged in played a major part in bringing about her fate.
- Welty Eudora, “Why I live at the P.O”
- “Why I Live at the P.O.: Introduction.” Short Stories for Students. Ed. Marie Rose Napierkowski. Vol. 10. Detroit: Gale, 1998. eNotes.com.