At first glance, Eudora Welty’s short stories seem to exist in paradox with the writer’s own intentions. Welty is well known for co-opting the “plots, settings, characters, image patterns, and vocabulary” of Gothic literature, yet upon being asked if she was a Gothic writer, she responded vehemently: “They better not call me that!”. What is a reader then to make of Welty’s short story “Clytie” which is saturated with homages to the imagery of the Gothic— the display of psychological breakdown of an isolated family trapped in a crumbling, memory-haunted mansion, centering on a trapped, unmarried woman who slowly realizes her own monstrosity? A closer look at the psychological framework of Gothic literature reveals that “Clytie” is at first a comedic exaggeration of the narrative, and then an equally comedic deviation from it. Welty appropriates the Gothic genre’s conception of self-realization in “Clytie” to demonstrate the grotesque mismatches and unachievable expectations inherent to the full expectation of Southern womanhood.
"Eudora Welty’s “Clytie”, the Mirror Stage, and the Grotesque,"
Global Tides: Vol. 16, Article 2.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/globaltides/vol16/iss1/2