Short Story Review 3: WHY I LIVE at the P. O. by Eudora Welty


The main character gets into verbal alterations with her sister, uncle, grandfather, and mother on July 4th. She is brutally honest with them and they are brutally honest back to her. To their delight, she decides to leave home and take up residence at her work place — the post office — and leave them all.


The main character felt her family wanted her to think like them. Much of her quarrel with them was about her speaking her mind. On at least two occasions she says, “I draw my own conclusions.” She was “happy” alone because she’d be able to think for herself rather than have people think for her.

Speaking one’s mind comes naturally to some like John McEnroe and John Thompson (I guess your name must be John for speaking your mind to come with ease). Though her name’s not John, the main character speaking her mind seemed to come naturally. Once she’d said what she needed to say and they spoke their piece, she gathered the nerve to leave her house and live on her own. The place? The post office.


The post office was a place of freedom and independence for the main character. It was the place she earned a living and she could live without the stinging judgments of her family. The post office for her family who live in a small town was to be avoided. It represented progress for them, this was progress they had no interest in participating in especially now that their shit talking family member would take up her lodging there.

Speaking one’s mind may hurt others and cause them to volly back comments to you. Be prepared to have a place of refuge when you raise your voice because the recipients of your message my choose to drive you far from them. But, your voice must be heard. Also, secure a place in the world where you are free to be yourself.




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