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I’ve now made it to the first story of the third collection, The Golden Apples.  It’s told in another one of those voices of pure Southern charm, full of energy and wit.  Welty really nailed the female character of the South.  Maybe even particularly of Mississippi.  Maybe that’s why I love her writing so much.  I know these women.  I was raised by them.

 

In “Shower of Gold,” we meet Snowdie MacLain, an albino who is abandoned by her husband.  Twice.  He comes back but runs off again without even speaking to her for fear of his own children.

 

Snowdie’s story is interesting, but Mrs. Rainey’s voice in telling it is more so. 

 

The Golden Apples is a short story cycle with every story related to the overall tale of the town.  I’m really looking forward to spending some time with the MacLains and Raineys and everyone else.

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Contributed by Carole Ezell.

About twelve years ago (urp), I wrote my master’s thesis on Welty’s short story cycle, The Golden Apples.  It has now been about that long since I read it, but I still think of the process of reading and re-reading it as something like driving through fog.  On my first reading, things were fuzzy around the edges, characters and events a little obscured by Welty’s language.   I remember Noel Polk calling on me in his Southern Lit class in grad school the day we discussed The Golden Apples.  I smiled, what must have looked like a knowing smile, at something he’d mentioned, so he called on me to explain what had happened at the lake.  As I stumbled along, I hoped very hard that I had actually understood and wasn’t making a fool of myself.  As I read it over and over, things began to emerge from the fog, events I had read over, past, around, until they seemed so glaringly obvious I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen them there all along.  I wrote my thesis about these hidden moments of sexual violence.  I love the way that Welty uses words to cloak her character’s lives, and writing this has me curious to pick The Golden Apples up again, to see if the fog might have settled around her words again.

On a totally random note (not really part of the blog entry), every time I buy a new pair of shoes I think of Welty writing in One Writer’s Beginnings about how her father always scored the soles of slippery new shoes with his pocket knife in a diamond pattern so that she wouldn’t fall down.

May 2019
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