Back Eudora Welty, “A Curtain of Green”

Eudora Welty (1909–2001)
From Eudora Welty: Stories, Essays, & Memoir

Detail from Work out in Mississippi Grove, c. 1900, oil on linen, by American artist Kate Freeman Clark (1875–1957). (Courtesy of The Athenaeum)

For years after her father’s death in 1931, Eudora Welty helped her mother in their yard as they worked through their grief with the never-ending tasks of maintaining a garden. The rigors of outdoor labor were both a source of consolation and (in the words of biographer Suzanne Marrs) “a key source of tension between Welty and her mother.” From this tension, as well as from the concern for her mother’s anguish and loneliness, grew the story “A Curtain of Green,” in which yardwork becomes an obsession rather than therapy. In the story, however, Welty replaces her own role in the drama with the character of a young black neighbor—the only person the story’s widow will “tolerate” in her home.

“A Curtain of Green” was one of the earliest works published by Eudora Welty, who was born 107 years ago, on April 13, and it is our current Story of the Week selection.

Read “A Curtain of Green” by Eudora Welty

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