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Why I Live At The P.O.

1167 words - 5 pages

Why I live at the P.O. was written by Eudora Welty in 1941. Sister, the first person narrator, who is a flat character in the story, causes external conflicts within her family as a result of her inner-conflicts. Such as lack of self-confidence and a demanding need to be the center of attention. Due to the conflicts she deals with inside herself, she is driven to move out of her family’s home and into the post office. In the beginning of the story the reader has sympathy for Sister due to the conflicts that are going on, but later on in the story we start to see that these conflicts were perpetuated by Sister herself. As this occurs the story takes on a comedic aspect from the view of the reader, and we lose our sympathy for Sister.
Sister lives in China Grove, Mississippi presumably a very small town with only a few occupants. She lives with her mother, grandfather and uncle in their home, being the center of attention for the duration of the time until her younger sister, Stella-Rondo returns home. The return of Stella-Rondo sparks a conflict with Sister immediately because Sister is obviously envious of her and has been even before she came back to China Grove. The reader gets clear evidence of Sister’s jealousy toward Stella-Rondo when Sister says “She’s always had anything in the world she wanted and then she’d throw it away.”(594). Clearly Sister has a predisposition toward Stella-Rondo returning for many reasons, and this is the beginning of the conflict that she begins to have with herself.
Stella-Rondo returns to the house with a child during the middle of dinner, and Sister is feeling greatly offended by this and shows us her arrogance and dismay that she’s losing the center of attention when she says “There I was over the hot stove, trying to stretch two chickens over five people and a completely unexpected child into the bargain without one moment’s notice.”(594). It’s clear that Sister is greatly taken aback by the arrival of her sister and also harbors some ill will toward the situation when she states, “Now if it had been me that trotted in from Illinois and brought a peculiar-looking child or two, I shudder to think of the reception I’d of got, much less controlled the diet of an entire family.”(597). It’s at this point that Sister shows herself as being a bias narrator who is clouded by her jealousy and need for attention; this makes it necessary for the reader to have to fill in the blanks of what is really happening. It’s also interesting to note here the sibling rivalry that is going on between Sister and Stella-Rondo, Sister obviously keeps close track of what Stella-Rondo has gotten away with over the years and clearly she doesn’t want her to get away with such things again. Sister is already starting to lose the battle of attention from her family, but more so that she has now lost the spotlight and nobody is paying attention to her. Instead, they’re focusing their direction and attention on Stella-Rondo and her child...

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