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Sister's Jealousy in "Why I Live at the P.O." Essay

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Jealousy between siblings materializes because one of them feels overshadowed by the other. For girls, this results in a lack of confidence. If a girl loses to her sister, younger or older, insecurity builds underneath often causing hostility between them. In Eudora Welty’s “Why I Live at the P.O.,” Sister’s resentfulness towards her sister hinders her ability to become independent.
Stella-Rondo brings out jealousy in Sister that causes tension between them. Sister hates that Stella-Rondo married Mr. Whitaker since Sister supposedly had him first. She feels like Stella-Rondo broke them up by lying. Most likely, Sister is upset because she was not the one to end up with the guy she liked, but she displays her feelings childishly. Sister’s snide comments towards her sister are the real reason that Stella-Rondo turns their family against her. Stella-Rondo’s lies about her daughter, Shirley T., increase Sister’s jealous feelings. Stella-Rondo claims that Shirley-T. is adopted, but Sister does not believe her. Sister wants her family to see through Stella-Rondo’s lies and realize that this two-year old child is not adopted. She points out that Shirley-T. is the “spitting image of Papa-Daddy” (359). Sister cannot stand that Stella-Rondo left Mr. Whitaker after only staying married to him for two years. The fact that “the first thing she did was separate! From Mr. Whitaker!” when Stella-Rondo got married and moved away infuriates Sister (359). Consequently, Sister makes sure her family knows that she had him first. In the heat of the moment at the end of the story, Sister starts saying that Mr. Whitaker left Stella-Rondo, not vice versa, which only builds up more tension.
Sister’s family upsets her because they tend to take Stella-Ro...


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...s that her family will come to her and beg her to return home. When she realizes that they are not going to do this, she will run back to them, and life will go on as she has always known it.
Sister’s frustration with Stella-Rondo obstructs their relationship, and even though Sister thinks she wants freedom from her family, her self-consciousness will keep her from achieving it. Sister acts hastily about the matter of moving out in order to gain independence. Independence comes from experience, not a split decisions made in a hurry. This quote by Steve Schmidt explains what Sister has quickly found out over the past five days, “the price for independence is often isolation and solitude."


Works Cited

Welty, Eudora. “Why I Live at the P.O.” Discovering a Voice: A Rhetoric for Writers. The University of West Alabama. Southlake, TX: Fountainhead, 2009. 359-67. Print.


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