Petrified Man by Edra Welty Essay

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“…God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers” (Romans 1:28-29) In Petrified Man, Eudra Welty writes s great example of mankind being given over to a debased mind. Welty’s story centers on two women, Leota the gossiping beautician and Mrs. Fletcher Leota’s vain customer, talking as hair is being made beautiful; however, the words which flow from their mouths have no semblance of beauty. Welty’s main characters retain not one redeeming quality. Welty uses a beauty shop as an ironic backdrop for the casting of bile and venom. Leota…show more content…
Mrs. Fletcher sees this gift as a blight on her body; the perception leading her to say “I don’t like children that much…I’m almost tempted not to have this one,” (). Welty points to vanity as the destroyer of beauty. The evil-mindedness of self-love breaks even the sacrosanct bond of motherhood. The men do not escape the tyranny of Welty’s pen. Not one man the ladies speak of any redeeming qualities. Most of the men do not have employment. The men who have jobs are subject to castigation or criminalization. The unemployed men live on wage provided by their female partners. At first glance, one might think an economic down turn might be the culprit of the male plight. With the date Leota gives Mrs. Fletcher, 18 March 1941, and a quick check of employment data, one can see employment numbers high and moving up in pre-Pearl Harbor America. ( you have note to reform) This information leaves the question “what is Welty trying to impart to the reader about men or the state of men in general?” To answer the aforementioned question one must look at the some of the men of which the women speak. Mr. Fletcher sways to Mrs. Fletchers will fearing his bride will have one of her “sick headaches”. Mr. Fletcher lacks the testicular fortitude to stand against his wife. Mr. Fletcher inadequateness leaves Mrs. Fletcher with no respect for her husband. Mrs. Fletcher states as much when she says, “Mr. Fletcher can’t do anything with me.” Welty’s betrayal of Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher
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