Eudora Welty's The Ponder Heart

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Eudora Welty's The Ponder Heart

There are many different ways to categorize The Ponder Heart. Some

critics have said that it could be a dramatic monologue, a comic monologue, or

a point of view. In the article "Seeing through Edna Earle: The Ponder Heart as

a Dramatic Monologue," the author is not clear whether the novel is a dramatic

monologue or not.

In A Handbook to Literaturethere is a very clear definition of a dramatic

monologue. A dramatic monologue is defined as "a poem that reveals, a "soul

in action" through the speech of one character in a dramatic situation."The

Ponder Heartis close to a dramatic monologue because "There is a speaker:

Edna Earle Ponder. There is an audience: a stranger. There is an occasion:

we find ourselves in the parlor of the Beulan Hotel" (Nissen, 1).

The "point of view" is defined by Nissen as "the nexus of our

interpretation of the novel's characters, events, and thematic significance"We

get this information from Edna Earle as she tells us of her stories. It is her

"point of view" we receive and see.

To understand the monologue character, I have some different

descriptions of Edna Earle. Edna Earle has been labeled in many different

ways. "She has been accused of being just about everything from bossy to

narrow-minded to just plain dumb" (Nissen, 2). She has been labeled as "a

talkative, frustrated, limited, boring woman, desperately trying to keep her

house in order," according to another critic, Kreyling. I do not see this at all in

Edna Earle's character. It seems that Edna Earle is in charge of the town

gossip. She runs the main hotel in town, her family is very important people in

this town, and that is why she gets all of the gossip. Small town's talk about

everything. Edna Earle is a strong but lonely woman. I believe that she talks

about the town gossip so her listener will stay with her. That way she is not left

alone. Another critic by the name of Robert Laugbaum says that Edna Earle, "

is a bit of a snob, she is opinionated and speaks her mind."I agree with this

when Edna Earle speaks of Bonnie Dee Peacock. She talks about Bonnie

Dee's intellegence, the way she dresses, and suggests that she is railroad

trash. It makes the reader believe that Edna Earle is better than Bonnie Dee.

Except, deep down, Edna Earle actually likes Bonnie Dee because when she

died, "one of the last things she says is that she misses Bonnie Dee" (Nissen,

4). In the article "Seeing through Edna Earle: The Ponder Heartas a Dramatic
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