Why I Live at the P.O.

Why I Live at the P.O.

Length: 1327 words (3.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Many times we feel that our family is against us or no one else cares for us. We even feel there is favoritism or preferences in our family, especially among other siblings. Most of the time it is our immaturity or jealously within ourselves that leads us to these conclusions. Moreover if we neglect others for our own selfish reasons, or if we choose to see things only from our point of view we usually end up by ourselves, longing for the presence of our family. In Eudora Welty’s “Why I Live at the P.O.”, the main character Sister, cannot step outside of her own perspective and is unable to understand the reality of the events taking place around her, therefore making her an unreliable narrator.

Sister’s perspective is very self-centered and designed to manipulate the reader for selfish purposes. When the story first begins, Sister is trying to get the reader to see that “Of course [she] went with Mr., Whitaker first…and Stella Rondo broke [them up].” Sister wants the readers to know this piece of information so we will think she is a victim in the story. This is a way of getting us, the readers, on “her side” so we will begin to think like her and dislike the person or people that she dislikes.

During the course of the story we see many references that Sister is envious, even jealous of Stella-Rondo. Sister thinks that because “Stella-Rondo is exactly twelve months to the day younger [than she is] that she’s spoiled.” (108) A person exactly one year younger than another sibling is no more or less spoiled than the other person. Sister says Stella-Rondo has “always had anything in the world [she]wanted.” This seems to bother Sister because she thought she never got everything she wanted. “Papa-Daddy give [Stella-Rondo] this gorgeous Add-a-pearl necklace”. There are some benefits that naturally go along with being the younger sibling. This does not mean that Sister has to behave the way she does. True, she never references Papa Daddy buying her anything or giving her “everything” she wanted, but she has to take into account what he has done for her. Papa Daddy got her the Post Office job “through [his] influence with the government”, which Sister thinks is the “next smallest P.O. in the entire state of Mississippi”.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Why I Live at the P.O.." 123HelpMe.com. 17 Jul 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

"Why I Live at the P.O" by Eudora Welty Essay examples

- Often when children are spoiled, they develop a sense of superiority to those around them. However, after leaving the closed environment of a household, the need for authority and supremacy can create unintended consequences imbedded with sorrow. The fallout from this misfortune is seen in “Why I Live at the P.O.” in the family quarrel that ensues due to the return of Stella-Rondo. Throughout the narration, the author asserts that because, the world is apathetic to one’s dilemmas, a shielded and pampered upbringing can only hamper personal development....   [tags: Why I Live at the P.O.]

Research Papers
741 words (2.1 pages)

Essay about The Live Performance Of, Disgraced And The Filmed Production Of Chicago

- For this assignment, I chose to view the live performance of, Disgraced and the filmed production of, Chicago. Disgraced, was about a man in New York of Pakistan descent who had disowned his religion of Islam. He seemed to be living the American Dream, a married working lawyer living in New York. However, his past Islamic beliefs catch up with him, turning his life to a downwards spiral. He ends up losing everything he worked so hard to achieve. Chicago follows the life of a young girl who has moved to Chicago in search of fame....   [tags: Performance, Audience, Live albums, Theatre]

Research Papers
1178 words (3.4 pages)

Live Television Essay

- Live Television In the Article The Concept of Live Television: Ontology as Ideology, Jane Feuer presents the idea of liveness in television. Television as an institution identifies all messages emanating from the apparatus as live. However in the technological advances, the meaning of live has greatly changed. Computerized editing equipment has made editing as flexible as most film editing. Much of this new equipment is used for the recording and freezing of "live" sports events that were supposed to be the glory of the medium....   [tags: Concept of Live Television TV]

Research Papers
809 words (2.3 pages)

Essay on Metaphors We Live By written by Lakoff and Johnson

- Metaphors We Live By written by Lakoff and Johnson The road goes ever on and on. Down from the door from where it began. Now far ahead the road has gone and I must follow it if I can. Pursuing it on weary feet until I joins some larger way where many paths and errands meet and whether then I cannot say. J.R.R. Tolkien I recently read the book Metaphors We Live By written by Lakoff and Johnson. I had always thought that metaphors, when used to illustrate logical, objective arguments, poetical flourishes, the icing on the cake, the supporting cast but never the star....   [tags: Metaphors Live Lackoff Johnson Essays]

Research Papers
857 words (2.4 pages)

Family as Theater in Eudora Welty's Why I Live at the P.O. Essay

- Family as Theater in Eudora Welty's Why I Live at the P.O.       The outspoken narrator of Eudora Welty's "Why I Live at the P.O.," known to us only as "Sister," intends to convince us--the world at large--that her family has "turned against" her, led on by her sister, itella-Rondo. To escape her family, she explains, she has left home and now lives at the P.O., where she is postmistress. As she delivers her monologue, the narrator reveals more about herself than she intends. We see her as a self-centered young woman who enjoys picking fights and provoking melodramatic scenes in which she is the center of attention....   [tags: Why I Live at the P.O.]

Research Papers
890 words (2.5 pages)

To Live or Not to Live, That is the Question Essay examples

- To Live, Or Not To Live: That Is The Question Terminal illnesses affect many people every year. Some patients simply cannot bear the pain. In 1994, Oregon passed the Death With Dignity Act (DWDA) which authorized physicians to prescribe lethal doses of controlled substances to terminally ill patients with only 6 months to live; this is referred to as physician assisted suicide. The DWDA consists of a list of procedures that a patient must undergo in order to receive assisted suicide. Once the patient has met all the requirements, the patient is given the lethal doses and passes away before the previous estimated time of death of six months....   [tags: terminal, illness, suicide]

Research Papers
979 words (2.8 pages)

Live Performance Essay

- Music: the art of organized noise. The blend of pitch and rhythm combined in different mediums and enjoyed by our ears. A very interpretive art, music isn’t very clearly constricted or defined by one definition. With so many varieties of music, it’s difficult to say what aspect is really the most important. Some people think music’s history and the appreciation of music are the most important aspects to take into consideration. Some think complex in rhythms and melodies make the best music. Some people devote their whole lives to studying one genre of music in order to fully understand how that genre works....   [tags: music industry, popular music, music]

Research Papers
1754 words (5 pages)

Essay on Certified to Live

- Certified to Live The day had finally come, and now it was over. I had worked diligently for four years, and what did I have to show for it. One measly little degree. All that work just for a piece of paper. That night, after the graduation ceremony, I tossed and turned thinking about the past four years and what this degree meant. According to the University of Southern Mississippi Honors College, I was now certified to be a filmmaker. But what did that mean. Sure, I knew how to work a camera, edit film; I even knew the format for writing a script....   [tags: Graduate Admissions Essays]

Free Essays
414 words (1.2 pages)

Essay on Live for Today

- Live for Today Tomorrow, the day after today. It is an indefinite time in the future. One question many people have on their minds is, what does tomorrow hold in store for me. What “if tomorrow never comes”, in the words of a song by the country-artist, Garth Brooks. Could I say I finished everything I started, or did I accomplish everything that I always wanted to do, but never did for fear of it being too risky. No one should feel they did not take the high road in order to enable them to fulfill that one great adventure....   [tags: Personal Narrative Michael Jordan Essays]

Free Essays
1247 words (3.6 pages)

Live With Lightning Essay

- Live With Lightning The main hero of the novel is looking for an answer to the question: “What is his place as a scientist in the world.” The book focuses on the historic period from the 30s till the end of the World War II. A common American post-student wants to become a scientist. He has nothing except his talent, courage, patience, persistence, and strong will to devote his life to physics. On obtaining his diploma and his appointment as an assistant and teacher in the University of Columbia, he spent his summer washing dishes, working at a gas station in a place with a significant name High Hope....   [tags: Essays Papers]

Research Papers
1230 words (3.5 pages)

This shows that Sister is ungrateful, and she is so set on thinking about things that she does not have, that she cannot appreciate the things she does have. She feels like she deserves more than just a “Bird’s Nest” referring to the P.O. job.

Sister not only feels that her family mistreats her, she feels intimidated by Stella-Rondo. This intimidation is actually jealousy in Sister’s case. She seems to think “Stella-Rondo tried to turn Papa-Daddy against [her]” and in turn, “Papa-Daddy tried to turn Uncle Rondo against [her].” Furthermore Sister even goes so far as to say “Mama, Papa-Daddy, and the baby all on Stella-Rondo’s side”. By Sister thinking like this, it shows that everything is about her. Sister is so wrapped up in herself that she cannot see the problems of others in her family. She doesn’t seem to realize that Stella-Rondo has problems of her own. She “just separated from her husband and came back home again”. With her she brought a child that “she never so much as wrote [her] mother about.” That in itself has to be embarrassing and traumatic for Stella-Rondo. Sister is unable to see this fact, she is unable to step outside of her own realm and realize that life is not all about her, that others in her family have issues of their own. In Sister’s mind Stella-Rondo came home and stole her place. When in actuality Stella-Rondo has probably just divorced and came home to get the support of her family.

Sister is so set on shaming Stella-Rondo that she will go as far as picking on the child to upset her sister. Sister starts to question the adoption story of Shirley T, and says “she looks like a cross between Mr. Whitaker and Papa-Daddy” upsetting Stella-Rondo in the process. Sister is unable to drop the issue of Shirley T because she feels like this is finally her chance to get even with her sister. She asks very simple questions such as “can that child talk….do you realize she hasn’t spoke one single…word?” (115) The previous statement show that Sister is very childish, she could have just dropped the entire issue of the child being adopted or not. When someone is not very mature, they will tend to stir up petty things, or find any way to get the other person upset, especially if it is a person they are jealous of.

When we tend to think of immaturity or jealousy we usually think of someone who is young and haven’t fully developed mentally. In the beginning of this story we would think Sister was a young child or an adolescent because of the childish things she does. She thinks Stella Rondo gets what she wants and throws it away on purpose. Sister states “when she [Stella-Rondo] was eight years old she threw it [necklace] away…. As soon as she [Stella-Rondo] got married…..the first thing she did was separate.” Welty never tells the readers the age of Sister but does give pertinent clues. Sister is old enough to work at the P.O. and has attended a “Normal school (Teacher’s College)” Sister’s immaturity and her inability to comprehend small things makes it difficult for a reader to see her as a college student. Sister thinks the reason Mr. Whitaker is not with her is because Stella-Rondo told him that she was “one-sided”. (108) Sister takes this to mean that she is “bigger on one side than the other”. What Stella-Rondo is saying is that Sister only has one way of thinking, she can only see her side of an issue. We know that Sister is not looking at all sides of the situations around her, thus making her an unreliable narrator. After Stella-Rondo returns home Sister states “there I [Sister] was over the hot stove,” trying to cook dinner for her family, when Stella-Rondo inconvenienced her by bringing her child to dinner without prior notice. For Sister to be a reliable narrator she needs to present everyone’s perspective equally. Sister does not grow or change during the story. Her thinking remains the same from the beginning of the story throughout the ending of the story. She starts out feeling that “everything was fine until.....Stella-Rondo …came home…”, now she resents Stella-Rondo for coming back.

Sister has finally decided to leave. She has made up in her mind that her family is turned “against” her and they are all on Stella-Rondo’s “side”. So she decides to move into the Post Office. She takes the “electric oscillating fan”, and the “pillow [she’d] done needle point on” (114) she even takes things such as “the sewing-machine motor [she] helped…to give Mama for Christmas” the “thermometer,” the “Hawaiian Ukulele,” and various other articles of “hers”. This shows that Sister does not really want to leave the house, she is trying to take a little piece of the home with her. After Sister moved into the P.O. she longed for her family to come see her. She states she wants the “world to know [she’s happy]”. It seems Sister is trying to convince herself that she’s happy, when she is not. She says if her sister would come to her on bended knee she would simply “put both [her] fingers in both…ears and refuse to listen”. I get the sense that Sister is wishing that Stella-Rondo would visit her. Until Sister can learn to step out of her own perspective and actually see the world does not revolve around her, she will never be a reliable narrator and she will always find herself alone.
Return to 123HelpMe.com