Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

1-1-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

M.A. in English

Department

English

First Advisor

Annette Trefzer

Second Advisor

Jamie Harker

Third Advisor

Martyn Bone

Abstract

This thesis investigates Welty's four short story collections and treats the stories as separate entities that are intimately connected to each other by a theme that evolves over and yet transcends the forty odd years that seem to separate them--namely Welty's theme of male homosexual desire. I will examine Welty's story collections using a theoretical framework that incorporates a history of homosexuality in the South and investigates such themes as travel, identity, reactions to heterosexual coupling, and traces Welty's own experiences through the experiences of her fictional male characters. Welty's work spans several decades but in a discussion of her short fiction the timeline begins in 1941 with the publication of A Curtain of Green and Other Stories and ends in 1955 with the publication The Bride of Innisfallen and Other Stories. This limited timetable allows us to follow, roughly, the evolution of Welty's writing and how the portrayals of male homosexuality change and grow. The development in the representation of these characters is just as significant as the acknowledgment of what remains the same: many tropes and commonalities that will be fleshed out in two short stories from each of Welty's four collections. From A Curtain of Green, and Other Stories(1941), "The Hitch-Hikers" and "Death of A Traveling Salesman" will be addressed. From her next collection, published in 1943, The Wide Net and Other Stories (1943), we will be looking at "First Love" and "A Still Moment." The Golden Apples, released in 1949 gives us "The Whole World Knows" and "Music from Spain." The stories, "No Place for You, My Love" and "Going to Naples" from The Bride of Innisfallen, and Other Stories (1955) will pull together themes from the other collections to illustrate the changes in Welty's depictions of male homosexuality.

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