Eudora Welty is an American author born on April 13, 1909 in Jackson, Mississippi. As a child, she was continuously inspired by her mother, a teacher, and her father, an insurance executive. Welty’s mother instilled in her a love for reading and a desire to pursue an education. Her father was fascinated by emerging technology, which would later foster her passion for engineering. After graduating from high school, Welty attended Mississippi State College to study English, but later transferred to the University of Wisconsin. She then enrolled at Columbia University for her graduate degree in advertising. Welty’s foray into the literary scene began with various short stories that were published in Atlantic Monthly. In 1942, she released her debut novel entitled The Robber Bridegroom, which was praised for its use of magical realism and fairy tale-like characters.
One of Eudora Welty’s novels, The Ponder Heart (1967), tells the story of Daniel Ponder, a man who is accused of murdering his recently-deceased wife. It is a comical read that deals with issues of monetary greed and societal expectations surrounding marriage. Set in the American south, The Ponder Heart is filled to the brim with southern regionalism and local color that allow the reader to be utterly immersed in the setting.
Upon its publication, Welty’s novel was met with positive reviews by critics and audiences for its humorous portrayal of dysfunctional families. V. S. Pritchett of The New York Times describes the narrative as “remarkable for its headlong garrulity and also for its preposterous silences and changes of subject at the crises of the tale. The breathless, backhanded, first person singular has been caught, word by awful word, in all its affectionate self-importance, by a writer with a wonderful ear.”