The medusa as artist-hero figure in Eudora Welty's "June Recital"




Zumwalt, Delores Marie

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The duality of the nature of the Medusa, as both victim and destroyer, is evident in literature from antiquity to the present. Although some sympathetic representations of her emerge in a few examples of Romantic and Victorian poetry, it is the figure of Medusa as monstrous female destroyer that dominates literature through the ages. In the twentieth century, women writers, engaging in what Alicia Ostriker terms "revisionist mythmaking," have appropriated and adapted the image of the Medusa as a symbol of the plight of modern woman--particularly the female artist. In "June Recital," Eudora Welty employs a variety of mythical motifs which she alters to meet the needs of her fiction; this study examines Welty's implementation of the Medusa image in this story. Welty creates, in the character of Miss Eckhart, a revisionist Medusa who functions in all three roles of the traditional myth--victim, artist, and hero.



20th century American authors, American female authors, Mythological symbolism in literature, Language, literature, and linguistics