Thank Goodness the Goose is Here: Creativity and women's writing in Eudora Welty's The Shoe Bird


Thank Goodness the Goose is Here examines Eudora Welty's only children's book, The Shoe Bird, and suggests that this text uses animal characters to explore women's authorship. Gloria the goose, whose character has been seen as stereotyped and silly, represents, in my reading, the inventive and courageous aspects of women's authorship, while Arturo, the methodical and precise parrot demonstrates that writing as a woman calls for the ability to use language in new ways even if this means ignoring established rules of language use. Drawing on Helene Cixous's work with the l'écriture feminine, this article locates in Gloria evidence of the creativity and fortitude required to write as a woman in cultures where written language has conventionally been seen as the domain of men. This article examines how The Shoe Bird plays with common Welty themes of memory, extinction, and entrapment to emphasize Gloria's inventive use of language to redefine the space of the shoe store and the subjectivities of the birds. Connections are also drawn between Gloria the goose and creative women who emerge in some of Welty's texts for adults. Although reviewers and critics have not extensively examined The Shoe Bird, this text provides rich commentary about how women can use language to change their worlds. © 2002 Human Sciences Press, Inc.

Publication Title

Children's Literature in Education