Petrified Man by Eudora Welty One of Eudora Weltys criticisms is that sheoccasionally possibly misrepresents the culture and influence of the south. Doyou think that is the case in The Petrified Man? When I think of the south, Ithink of southern hospitality. I picture people always talking to each other,whether its just small talk or gossip, which is the case in The PetrifiedMan. The dialogue itself appears to be pretty accurate (from what I can imagineanyway, since Ive never been down south).
The south definitely has a certainway of talking and Eudora Welty does a great job showing us, not just tellingus, this dialect. From the very first sentence of the story, you know where youare, and the type of people involved in the story. Reach in my purse and gitme a cigarette without no powder in it if you kin, Mrs. Fletcher, honey Idont like no perfumed cigarettes.
As for the events themselves, theyappear to be reasonably honest. If you allow yourself to just listen to thestory as its being told, instead of trying to analyze its validity (it isfiction after all) you will believe youre sitting in Leotas beauty parlorwith Mrs. Fletcher and Leota talking about anything or anybody. It doesntmatter exactly what youre talking about, as long as it takes the attentionaway from your own lives, if just for an hour or two. Although some people mightbe offended at the gesture that all the women in the south sit around and justtalk about everyone else, I think its accurate.
Not just in the south, andnot just with women. For some reason, people find comfort in talking about otherpeoples lives and forgetting about theirs for a little while. How do themajor characters react to the story that Leota is telling? Do they change orlearn anything? I know when I hear a story, I dont look for a moral toincorporate into my life. I just listen to the story and allow myself to beentertained. I believe thats the same with the characters in this story.
Idont think they learned anything. Even at the very end of the story when Mrs. Pikes son, Billy Boy, runs out of the beauty parlor and yells If youreso smart, why aint you rich? I dont think either Leota or Mrs. Fletchereven understood his point.
I think Mrs. Fletcher did change however. At thebeginning of the story it seemed that she was irate when she found out herpregnancy was the topic of discussion at the beauty parlor. Who was it?demanded Mrs. Fletcher. By the end of the story, once they had talked abouteverything that had happened to Mrs.
Pike and her husband, Mrs. Fletcher feltfine about talking about the pregnancy. I guess I better learn how to spanklittle old bad boys, as if once the attention was on someone else, she nolonger cared about people talking about her pregnancy. Now, in fact, she wastalking about it. Do you think the on going theme of the story is? I thought thetheme of the story was jealousy.
I started thinking about it as soon as Mrs. Fletcher started getting defensive once Leota told her about Mrs. Pike. The moreLeota talked about her, the more defensive Mrs. Fletcher got. Does she knoweverything about you already? Then all of the sudden, once she found out thatLeota and Mrs.
Pike had had a falling out, everything was fine. As mentionedbefore, when Mrs. Fletcher found out Mrs. Pike was the one that told Leota Mrs.
Fletcher was pregnant, she was outraged. Mrs. Pike was the one Leota talked toall the time now. She was the one who heard all the stories about everyone intown. She was Leotas new confidant if you will.
To prevent from slipping toofar down on Leotas friend list, Mrs. Fletcher kept asking questions aboutMrs. Pike pretending to be interested. The whole time just waiting for the timewhen she would mess up.
Once she knew that their friendship was over, everythingwas great. She no longer cared about people talking about her pregnancy. As forLeota, her jealousy seems to be the only reason for her hatred of Mrs. Pike.
Jealous of the fact that it was her magazine that Mrs. Pike had seen the rewardposter in, jealous that she