One Writers Beginings is an exquisitely compiled biography of a woman scholar recounting her early life and how its experiences molded her into a writer. The book is organized in three chapters. The first chapter talks about listening, the second about learning to see while the third talks about finding a voice. Each chapter expresses a particular theme which is harmoniously intertwined with the authors real life accounts. The three main themes in the book are not separately discussed. Rather, there is a smooth continuum of events and occurrences that progressively build on the authors idea of learning from the surroundings. The book is a classic example of the benefits of growing in a constructive environment. However, the author illustrates that such an environment does not suffice to build a character in person. Instead, its a personal endeavor that a subject must undertake to reap the benefits of such an environment. In this essay, I will argue that an individuals mindset, their urge to learn, and their sensitivity to changing economic and social times are the ingredients to a successful life, and the only secret to discovering ones full potential.
The books epilogue is a vivid description of Eudoras young life. He lived with his family in a storey house, whose bathroom was in the upper room, while the kitchen was in the downstairs. She recounts listening to her parents exchange the vocals of a song in turns. Her father would whistle the song, while her mother would hum it after failing to grasp the art of whistling. After the whole drama was over, Eudora would appear to her parents to show them how skillfully she had tied her shoes. In this short paragraph, Eudora predicts the next part of her book. Her early years were marked with quick and rather informal lessons implicitly offered by her parents. He learned their behaviors, their talents and their worldviews on various issues. While Eudoras father was an optimist, Chestina, her mother, is a pessimist. This character, however, does not deter her from undertaking daring activities like rescuing her novel-Dickens- from a burning house. Through listening and observing her parents distinct attributes, Eudora develops a character of her own. Her character, as the book shows, is a blend of partly what she acquires from her father and partly from her mother. In her adulthood, described in length in the last chapter, Eudora developed the passion for literature and poetry not only from college education, but because of lessons she learnt from her mother. She also writes that I was my own teacher, a gesture that indicates that she gave herself for instructions, and its from there that she learned how to recreate stories from her encounters (Welty 14).
Eudora Welty uses photographs as motifs to complement the story that she tells in words. After the first chapter, the author provides an addendum of numerous pictures portraying him with the members of her family. Those pictures where she poses with her parents perhaps make the biggest bulk of her narration. Eudora describes her family in pictures: their car, their grandparents, her school, and her siblings. The importance of these pictures is arguably to show the positivity of environment surrounding Eudora throughout her lifetime. The reader can deduce from these pictures that Eudora was not inspired only by her parents, but also by her grandparents. Her parents did not keep her away from her grandmother and grandfather. Rather, they occasionally took them to a trip in the countryside Ohio and West Virginia to meet her grandparents. Through regular visits to her grandmothers, Eudora leant that family values can be traced back to earlier generations. She therefore imagines her parents life in their youth through the time that he spent with her grandparents.
The various anecdotes that Eudora employs in One Writers Beginnings exemplify her own contribution to the success of his work. In one instance, she narrates her journey with her father on a country train as a ten year old girl. At one point, a soldier stepped off a halted train and moved into an opening and disappeared. She then describes what she felt afterwards as her getting out of sight of him, diminishing and soon to be forgotten (Welty 86). Her use of stories implies that she took every encounter as an ingredient to her excellence in writing. She dared to learn, and successfully she did. Her mindset was oriented towards recreating her life, and she, therefore, wasted no chance that could be translated to a good story.
Eudora Welty is renowned for her masterpiece One Writers Beginnings. It is a biography that exemplifies growing in a solid society where parental roles are appreciated, and where children are ready to learn from their parents. Eudora observes her environment, learns to see, and finally finds a voice in the two of these that directs her into a successful writing career.
Welty, Eudora. One writer's beginnings. Harvard University Press, 1995.
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