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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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5. Masculine Heroes   

13. Southern Renaissance

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•  Activities
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Activities: Author Activities

Eudora Welty - Author Questions

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  1. Comprehension: What kind of relationship do Leota and Mrs. Fletcher seem to have? Describe these two characters. What kind of people are Leota and Mrs. Fletcher? Where does each of them live? How does each woman spend her day? How do they think of themselves? How do they seem to perceive each other? What specific clues does the text give us to help answer these questions?

  2. Context: Like many other southern authors, Welty was greatly influenced by southern oral traditions. In "Losing Battles," for example, Welty attempted to write an entire narrative comprised solely of her characters' dialogue with one another. Think about the kinds of stories Leota tells, and compare those with, for example, the stories in Zora Neale Hurston's Eatonville Anthology. What do the stories have in common? How do they differ? What does such a comparison suggest about southern oral traditions?

  3. Exploration: Like many of the writers in Unit 8, (as well as many of the writers included under the category of the Southern Renaissance), Welty is often considered a regional writer because she writes almost exclusively about a particular geographic area, and that location seems to greatly determine her plots and characters. While this might be a useful way for literary scholars to group authors, it also risks reducing authors to a label that does not adequately describe their work. Consider the types of writing you've read that are grouped under the category of "regionalism." What are the pros and cons of such a label? What does such a label assume about literature? How might it be used by scholars to construct or manipulate the American literary canon? How does the South of Twain, Chopin, and Chesnutt differ from that of Welty and the Southern Agrarians?

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