1. “Told him I was one-sided. Bigger on one side than the other, which is a deliberate, calculated falsehood: I’m the same.”
Sister speaks these words in the story’s opening paragraph, referring to what she considers one of the lies Stella-Rondo tells to lure Mr. Whitaker away from Sister. This complaint summarizes the story’s central conflict. Sister’s gripe may be with her family as a whole, but the theft of Mr. Whitaker’s affections proves to be the transgression she cannot get over. Welty gives a double meaning to Sister’s complaint. Although Sister is talking about her physical shape, the phrase “one-sided” applies equally well to her clouded vision of herself and the world around her. Sister wishes to portray herself as a well-balanced, fair, and accurate judge of character, but her willful denial and subjectivity prove to be the source of her unhappiness. Although Sister isn’t self-aware enough to understand how “one-sided” she actually is, we can see from this quotation and the rest of Sister’s narration how deluded she is about herself and those around her. Sister’s insistence on shunning everyone’s perspective but her own emerges as the defining tragedy of the story—when Sister leaves home for the post office, she effectively refuses any possibility of expanding her view of the world.