Literary Analysis: Eudora Welty’s “Powerhouse”

Powerhouse was an intriguing story named for its tremendous primary character, a piano player named “Powerhouse.” The beginning the story laid the scene beautifully to depict the impact Powerhouse had over an audience. Despite the power and radiance of his presence, there is an unspoken gloom hanging over the story due to taking part in the segregated South, and the band playing for a whites-only dance.

In spite of this unfortunate segregation, Powerhouse’s energy and enthusiasm for his craft affected the audience in incredible ways. It really demonstrated the type of power he had as a character, and how influential he was on other characters in the story. Even when the band stopped playing and gathered for beers during intermission, everyone who surrounded him was awe-stricken by his mere presence.

The language and imagery flow perfectly with the time period, even though not always easy to understand. The imagery was powerful as well, and appropriate to depict the characters. The dialogue contributed to demonstrating the power of the characters and shed some light on their distinctive personalities.

The narration described Powerhouse as someone who is “marvelous, frightening” but I got the sense that it wasn’t due to his appearance in a segregated environment, but rather how he immersed himself into his music and let it take control of him. The unpredictability and imagination of Powerhouse are what made him so intimidating to those around him. Welty did an excellent job portraying the character throughout the story, even when the character was faced with the sad circumstances surrounding his wife. Whether she died, or it was a lie to cover her estrangement, is a mystery left for the reader to determine.

Welty allowed the portrayal of the character to dominate throughout the story, even when the character was faced with the sad circumstances concerning his wife. Whether she died, or it was a lie to cover her estrangement, is a mystery left for the reader to determine.

Much of the dialogue played out like a song, with a rhythm and flow of a blues song, which seemed so appropriate to the story and drew me in despite an inherent sadness of the circumstances.

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