The Story Of Delta Wedding By Eudora Welty

840 Words4 Pages
The story of Delta Wedding, by Eudora Welty, begins with Laura McRaven travelling to visit her extended family, the Fairchilds, at their plantation in the Mississippi Delta. There she experiences the turmoil surrounding her departed mother’s family: the uproar of the oncoming wedding, the tension between her aunts, and the difficulties one must face in becoming a Fairchild. Despite Laura playing the main role of the novel, Welty uses her minor character Robbie Reid to explore the compact Southern family and the polarity between precedent archetypes and the liberal woman of the 1920s. Welty uses the temporary separation of Robbie, Laura’s aunt by marriage, and her husband, George, to highlight how swiftly the Fairchilds will band together and turn against those who are deemed outsiders. Towards the middle of the novel, Welty introduces Aunt Tempe who, upon hearing the news of Robbie’s departure, exclaims, “‘I’d like to see her! She’ll get no welcome from me, flighty thing . . . how can people hurt George’” (139). Even Ellen, who - like Robbie - married into the Fairchild household, strides to George’s defense; “‘I don’t know. . . . Remember Robbie’s the one among us all we don’t know very well’” (139). Because Robbie is unlike the members of the family, she is often the recipient of disapproval. Her and George’s estrangement is then able to give way to the Fairchilds’ spoken opinions and give the reader a sense of familial protection. Should one, an “outsider,” cause harm - whether it be physical or emotional - to a member of a family, the natural response would be to strike back at the antagonist. “We see that . . . the strength of love is directed not toward the outsider, [Robbie], but toward the consanguineous family” (... ... middle of paper ... ...onlight, and tangled in limbs and leaves is so brazen in its sensual description that it makes Ellen anxious . . . The sight of their physical embrace reminds Ellen that the family is changing by admitting boldness, loudness, and rambunctious play (97). Decorous women would never float near whirlpools, or do anything dangerous for that matter, and freely lay with their significant other on a leafy bed entangled with branches. Robbie Reid is not a decorous woman. She defies the standards set by the Fairchild family; where they are coy, pleading, and in control, Robbie is a flame: wild, bright, and obstinate. “She has the nerve of a brass monkey” (Welty 150). Robbie refuses to bend to the disapproving scowls she gains from her husband’s family and from those whose beliefs are becoming obsolete, thus making her an exemplary representation of the 1920s liberal woman.

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