Title page for ETD etd-1112101-153735

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Donald, Nicole M.
URN etd-1112101-153735
Title "Of One Kind or Another:" Rape in the Fiction of Eudora Welty
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department English
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Peggy Prenshaw Committee Chair
John Lowe Committee Member
Kevin Cope Committee Member
  • welty
  • the robber bridegroom
  • the burning
  • rape
  • june recital
  • petrified man
Date of Defense 2001-10-23
Availability unrestricted
"Of One Kind or Another:" Rape in the Fiction of Eudora Welty explores the ways in which Eudora Welty's repeated inclusion of rape in her fiction reveals and questions southern society and women's roles in it. Despite the vague, even confusing language with which she describes the incidents of rape. Welty offers a rich, forceful commentary upon the culture and women's roles in it. The ambiguity with which she describes rape reveals ambivalence toward the society that Welty may be said at once to protect and to expose. An examination of Welty's use of rape in her fiction reveals a troubling ambivalence, but, in the context of Welty's fiction, the persistent image of rape does allow Welty to voice a critique of southern culture.

Chapter One demonstrates Welty's ambivalence towards both the South and violence in it. Chapter Two analyzes the rape imagery in one story from each collection of short fiction, and delves into the conventions of female decorum that these stories expose. Chapter Three explores Welty's commentary on race in southern society that is evidenced in contrasting rape scenes in The Robber Bridegroom.

Welty's repeated use of rape imagery invites further exploration of its significance in Welty's fiction. What this repetition reveals, in fact, is Welty's assessment of gender and racial roles in the south. In both her short fiction and in her novella, Welty uses rape to reveal cultural norms and expectations of women in southern society.

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