A Circle in the Fire Essay

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In the following essay, Westling explores the "radically different views toward femininity" found in a comparison of "A Circle in the Fire" and Eudora Welty's Delta Wedding within the context of "the old mother/daughter story of Demeter and Persephone."

Bookish southern girls a generation ago were likely to have saturated themselves with Greek and Roman mythology in childhood, because Southern culture has had a long love affair with the classics. Not surprisingly, that kind of early imaginative experience turns up in the fiction of two very different women writers, Eudora Welty of Mississippi and Flannery O'Connor of Georgia. Both writers echo the Demeter/Persephone story in dramatizing strong maternal figures who preside over pastoral settings. But while Welty celebrates the feminine power and fertility of what mythographer G. S. Kirk calls "the most pervasive of all Greek divine tales," O'Connor invokes the old patterns in order...

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This section contains 3,327 words
(approx. 9 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Circle in the Fire Study Guide
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