Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Delta Wedding

Lately, I have been reading Delta Wedding by Eudora Welty very, very slowly. The reason it's taking me so long to read it is that I just don't have much time for reading anything but the books I have to read for discussion groups I'm in. I don't really even have time for those. In some cases I would be frustrated by having to read a book I liked so slowly, but it suits this book well. The entire book only covers a few days surrounding a wedding in the Mississippi Delta. 

The name Mississippi Delta is confusing because it can easily be mistaken for the delta where the Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico, which is in Louisiana. The area we're talking about here is in north and mid-western Mississippi (the state) between the Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers. There seems to be some difference of opinion as to whether my county, Tate, is in the Delta, but if it's not, it's on the eastern border of the area. 

I plan to write a great deal more about Delta Wedding when I finish the book but I thought that since I'll have so little time tonight (I left the house at 6:00 a.m. and just got home at 8:00 p.m.) and tomorrow night (won't get home until probably 11:00), I'd post a couple of passages from the book tonight and tomorrow--one lovely, and one rather horrifying--both beautifully written.
In a low voice Ellen told her dream to put the child to sleep. With one hand she held down her little girl's leg, which wanted to kick like a dancer's. Gradually it gave up.
"Mama dreamed about a thing she lost long time ago before you were born. It was a little red breastpin, and she wanted to find it. Mama put on her beautiful gown and she went to see. She went to the woods by James's Bayou, and on and on. She came to a great big tree." 
"Great big tree," breathed the child. 
"Hundreds of years old, never chopped down, that great big tree. And under the tree was sure enough that little breastpin. It was shining in the leaves like fire. She went and knelt down and took her pin back, pinned it to her breast and wore it. Yes, she took her pin back,--she pinned it to her breast--to her breast and wore it--away--away.
And then before Ellen leaves the sleeping child, "She put[s] a little sugared almond on Bluet's pillow, for her fairies' gift, and [leaves] the room on tiptoe."

More tomorrow!



  1. I love that novel. It just shimmers in my imagination -- in fact I think it does have a kind of shimmering, Impressionist quality that's like the heat or something. It's full of disturbing narratives and undercurrents and shocking things that come out of nowhere, but in its beauty I think it's sui generis as a Southern novel.

    I'd love to talk more about it, but I don't want to say anything until you write more!

  2. Ha. I was reading your comment and thinking, "No, no! Not until I write something."

    I'm having a hard time containing myself right now. On to tonight's quote and bed.


  3. But I AM glad you commented, and you said just the right amount.


  4. Well, any time you want to talk about Ellen, Dabney, marriage, childbirth, death, and images in the novel that resonate all those things, I'm ready. Sort of. It would probably be good if I reread it, because it's been a few years.