The Optimist's Daughter Literary Criticism

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Born in Jackson, Mississippi on April 13, 1909 to a young couple still reeling from the death of an infant only three years prior, Eudora Welty was to later become among one of the most renowned and respected authors throughout most of the twentieth century. Raised by two protective, encouraging parents, and yet having grown up in a world where many Americans still lacked basic rights, it is with no doubt that her memories and experiences heavily influence her writing. The works of Eudora Welty often carry heartfelt and relatable storylines, strong feminist themes and characters, and brilliantly written humor and or drama - her 1972 novel, The Optimist’s Daughter is no exception. Eudora Welty’s novel, The Optimist’s Daughter, was inspired by the very concept of one’s own memory, dealing with loss and grief, and her own personal experiences. The memories that people keep and revisit are often times what makes an individual who they are. In many works of fiction, a protagonist’s memories can reveal their past. Memory itself is a large part of what makes up The Optimist’s Daughter, as the novel spends roughly …show more content…
While many of Eudora Welty’s novels are partially inspired by real-world events, both on personal and broader levels, it cannot be disguised that The Optimist’s Daughter was very heavily influenced by happenings in her own life. William Maxwell, a close friend and fiction editor at The New Yorker at the time, pointed out clear parallels from Welty’s 1984 memoir, One Writer’s Beginning’s and her 1972 novel, The Optimist’s Daughter (Neckles, pp.161). Some may suggest that the loss of Judge’s vision may have been inspired by trouble that her mother began to experience in 1956 (Marrs, pp.258). While the trouble with her vision may not have been the sole purpose behind the story, it is without a doubt that Welty wrote the story to deal with her own

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