Eudora Welty's The Ponder Heart.

Eudora Welty's The Ponder Heart

The critical essay "The Strategy of Edna Earle Ponder" by Marilyn Arnold expresses the idea that Edna Earle Ponder is sizing up the woman who has come to the Beulah Hotel, while her car is being fixed, as a potential new wife for Uncle Daniel. Arnold believes that the "narrative ear" is important character in the novel. Arnold argues that the listener is a young female who is naïve and shy and that Dean Earle utilizes her self-professed intelligence to get Uncle Daniel married again. By marrying again Uncle Daniel would come out of his reclusivness and be happy once more. She states:"Throughout the novel the adroit Edna Earle travels the course of her story selecting details meant to charm and impress a young woman and at the same time she sets forth the expectations that would govern a liaison between her guest and Daniel"(Arnold 70).

According to Arnold, Edna Earle is completely disappointed in the two previous marriages of Uncle Daniel. As his protector and the one person who is concerned with his happiness "any further brides will be first sized up, then courted, then forewarned and foreordained by Daniel's niece and protector"(71). It is Edna's belief that Uncle Daniel can only be truly happy when he is in love.

In the beginning of her tale Edna Earle gives her listener a plethora of favorable descriptions and accounts of Uncle Daniel. "Edna Earle is especially careful to stress Daniel's youthfulness in spite of fifty-plus years"(72). She also explains how she, Daniel's father, and the citizens of the town have handled Uncle Daniel. Arnold states:"Her narrative becomes in part a lesson on how to treat Daniel: that is, how to protect him and let him do whatever makes him happy"(73).

Lastly, Arnold asserts that Edna Earle emphasizes how Uncle Daniel gave away almost all of the Ponder money.
Get Access