Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Optimist's Daughter Notes


  • Late 50s early 60s

  • New Orleans during Carnival in March

  • Childhood home Mount Salus, MS

  • Clay County, WV, Grandmother’s farm

  • Judge McKelva

  • Laurel McKelva Hand

  • (Wanda) Fay McKelva

  • Becky McKelva

  • Only child Laurel Hand returns to family home in MS when she hears her father, Judge McKelva, is having trouble with his vision.

  • The Judge dies and new wife Fay inherits the home and all its belongings. Laurel will be given money.

  • Good vs. Evil

  • Materialism vs. Personal Values

  • Class/Caste/Status/Cultures

  • Death

  • Rhythm of Life including below list...

A. Counting booties/pages/time/friends

B. Traffic outside motel/hospital/carnival

C. Reading aloud/daughter to father/parents

D. Ticking of the family mantel clock

E. Chopping of wood in the mountains

F. Wind and rain that summons the ghost

G. Flapping of the wings/beating of the heart of the small chimney swallow


  • A light comical feel, to a somber mode, then reflective and finally an explosive ending

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