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Phoenix Jackson, William Wallace, and King MacLain: Welty's Mythic Travelers

Phoenix Jackson, William Wallace, and King MacLain: Welty's Mythic Travelers Phoenix Jackson, William Wallace, and King MacLain: Welty’s Mythic Travelers by Jim Owen Throughout the tapestry of Eudora Welty’s short fiction runs the thread of travel: that the motif of the journey would find its way into much of her work seems fitting for an author whose first published story was “Death of a Traveling Salesman.” In reexamining her Collected Stories, one finds that many of Welty’s characters simply cannot stay still: they get on and off buses bound for mental institutions; they mosey off downriver after leaving their hats as flimsy evidence of suicides; they set off on pil- grimages to Niagara Falls only to wait silently for trains that have already passed; they take wild west coast rambles with Spanish guitar players after slapping their spouses; or they wander down Catherine Street into a world in which Old Mr. Marblehead transmogrifies into Mr. Bird. Some, of course, take worn paths to the doctor’s office to get medicine for an ailing grandchild. Many readers recognize Welty’s use of the journey to be part of her mythic method. Travel is naturally vital to both the genres of epic and ro- mance, and by thus paralleling her travelers’ journeys with http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

Phoenix Jackson, William Wallace, and King MacLain: Welty's Mythic Travelers

The Southern Literary Journal , Volume 34 (1) – Dec 1, 2001

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2001 Department of English of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
ISSN
1534-1461

Abstract

Phoenix Jackson, William Wallace, and King MacLain: Welty’s Mythic Travelers by Jim Owen Throughout the tapestry of Eudora Welty’s short fiction runs the thread of travel: that the motif of the journey would find its way into much of her work seems fitting for an author whose first published story was “Death of a Traveling Salesman.” In reexamining her Collected Stories, one finds that many of Welty’s characters simply cannot stay still: they get on and off buses bound for mental institutions; they mosey off downriver after leaving their hats as flimsy evidence of suicides; they set off on pil- grimages to Niagara Falls only to wait silently for trains that have already passed; they take wild west coast rambles with Spanish guitar players after slapping their spouses; or they wander down Catherine Street into a world in which Old Mr. Marblehead transmogrifies into Mr. Bird. Some, of course, take worn paths to the doctor’s office to get medicine for an ailing grandchild. Many readers recognize Welty’s use of the journey to be part of her mythic method. Travel is naturally vital to both the genres of epic and ro- mance, and by thus paralleling her travelers’ journeys with

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Dec 1, 2001

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