Wunderkind Essay

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In the following excerpt, Petry examines the sexual overtones in McCullers's "Wunderkind," and concludes that the underlying sexual crisis in the story stems from the protagonist's sexual feelings for her music teacher.

It is one of the more peculiar phenomena of literary history that once an author becomes critically and/or popularly acclaimed, his or her earliest efforts often acquire a new status. Instead of being approached as discrete works of art, worthy of evaluation on their own terms, too often they tend to be utilized primarily as source material. They are mined for whatever embryonic elements—characters, events, motifs—were destined to reemerge, fully fleshed, in the later, greater works. Or, what is even more intriguing, those early efforts that draw upon autobiographical elements (as do so many) cease to be regarded as works of fiction, and hence they do not attract the kinds of...

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This section contains 3,252 words
(approx. 9 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Wunderkind Study Guide
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Wunderkind from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.