Why I Live at the P.O.
Communication is the exchange of thoughts, opinions, or ideas from one person to another. In most cases, members of a family have the ability to communicate with each other without fear of being excluded, looked down upon, or shunned. Families will usually welcome a lost member back into their home with open arms and a warm heart, ready to talk about all the times without them. The theme communication is found everywhere; whether it is the absence of communication once the narrator’s sister arrives home, the miscommunication between family members, the place of residency—the post office—for the narrator at the end of the story, or even the characters’ names. Eudora Welty’s “Why I Live at the P.O.” conveys a very humorous theme of human communication through the use of both irony, and Stella-Rondo’s actions within the short story.
As one reads all the way through “Why I Live at the P.O.,” one may notice the simple, family-style names. For example, “Mama” is the mother of the narrator, “Papa-Daddy” is the narrator’s grandfather, “Uncle Rondo” is the narrator’s uncle, and the narrator’s name is “Sister.” These names create a feeling of a tight-knit family, one that communicates very well. Ironically, the author reveals that the family is not as good with communication as the names would entail. This is obviously shown when the family members choose sides and disown Sister.
Another instance, in which communication is portrayed, is with the arrival of Stella-Rondo back home from her broken marriage with her husband. With her, she brings a two year old daughter named Shirley-T. The lack of communication between characters is seen here as Stella-Rondo hides that Shirley-T is in-fact her daughter, saying “Shirley-T.’s adopted (Welty 480).” Stella-Rondo refuses to tell her family about how her marriage ended and all family members are satisfied with that—except Sister.
Miscommunication is seen between family...