Sunday, June 07, 2009

Southern Reading Challenge: The Ponder Heart by Eudora Welty

This is the first Eudora Welty-story that I have read, and thus I don't know much about her, her other works, themes and such. Clicking her name above takes you to an easily read and interesting article about Eudora Welty, her life, and brief descriptions of her novels and stories.
Welty was born, raised and lived her life in Jackson, Mississippi, and her works are definitely in the "Southern Literature Genre". It is hot down there, it rains a lot, the community is segregated between white and black, and the world is filled with strange people.
The Ponder Heart was published in 1954 but takes place before World War II. The location is the town of Clay, Mississippi. The narrator of the story is Miss Edna Earle Ponder, who manages a hotel, Hotel Beulah, in town. She tells the story of her Uncle Daniel to a travelling salesman staying at the hotel. So, the story is about her uncle Daniel, a good man who loves to talk, loves people and loves give out presents to anyone he meets on the street. Uncle Daniel is also a sweet man, and the reader gets the impression that Uncle Daniel may also be a little weak and eccentric. In fact, he is so eccentric that his father, Edna Earle's grandpa, sends him to an asylum, so that he does not give away his whole fortune to strangers.



As the narrative continues, we learn about Uncle Daniel's weakness'es, his marriages and the events leading to his two weird marriages and the end of those marriages. It is a story filled with much humour, and much loneliness, and much Southern "weirdness". To me the writing style was a bit "old", but that is not strange, since the story is more than 50 years old. But it probably did not help that I read a Danish translation, which missed the dialects the original story supposedly had. I think I need to let this story sink in, but it was easily read and easily understood, and I want to read more by Eudora Welty and most of all I would like to be able to "dissect" a story like this a bit better than what I am able to do right now. An interesting story!

There are many internet resources available about Eudora Welty, and I found out, that she was also an avid photographer. The image is taken by her and I found it on the Mississippi Writer's Page.

The Southern Reading Challenge is hosted by Maggie from the Maggie Reads Blog.

9 comments:

Beth F said...

I have read Welty, but I don't think I've ever read this one. I'm drawing a blank at the moment trying to think of I have read. I'll have to check out the link you provided and see if my memory will improve.

Bookwormom said...

I'm lazy & haven't read any of Ms. Welty's work, but this one sounds good. I think I'll check and see if I can borrow it from the library.

Btw- I nominated you for an award, click here.

~Amanda

Louise said...

Thanks for your comments, Beth and Amanda. I found Welty's style a bit oldfashioned, which of course wasn't that strange, considering the time it was written. But it was a quick read and also interesting....

Amanda, thanks a lot, I must check out the award at once :-)

bookinn said...

I love southern lit! This one sounds worth the read, i'll have to put it in my must read pile!

Louise said...

bookinn, my must reads pile is growing by the second - or so it feels sometimes ;o)

Lisa said...

I have not read any of Welty's books either and reading this post makes me want to correct that! I love Southern Lit!

Louise said...

Lisa, thanks for your comment. I also love Southern Lit and have a whole stack that I am going to read over the summer :-)

farmlanebooks said...

Interesting review -I wonder if the original English sounds dated. I am going to try some Welty soon, so I'll let you know!

Louise said...

Jackie, I am looking forward to hear when you've read a Welty book.