The Freakish World of Eudora Welty: Exploring Her Depression Era South
The 1930s marked a period of time when the South was regarded as the nation's freak, its outcast, full of white tenant farmers and their degenerate offspring. Eudora Welty, in her short stories of the decade and in her photographs of small towns and carnival sideshows, challenged such a regional depiction, attempting to reclaim a cohesive identity for the South in the face of ongoing industrialization. She figures such a reclamation through the language of freakery, featuring several small town carnival exhibits as the site of narrative resistance in her short stories "Keela, the Outcast Indian Maiden" and "The Petrified Man". This session will explore both visual and narrative depictions of freaks, considering how Welty's images intersect with regional debates over the meaning of white Southern identity.
Keywords: Eudora Welty, Freaks, Freakery
Dr. Betsy Nies
Assistant Professor of English, Department of English, University of North Florida