Some children are products of their environment; they grow up to pursue the same career or gain the same interests as those people around them. Eudora Welty grew up in an environment that was enriched with books and reading, which later impacted on her craft as a writer. In her autobiography, One Writer's Beginnings, Eudora Welty shares the value and intensity of her experiences with books and reading through descriptions of Mrs. Calloway, her mother, and herself.
Welty's descriptions of her encounters with Mrs. Calloway, the librarian, serve to portray the powerful atmosphere of reading and the value of books in her childhood. Mrs. Calloway's strict policies in the library exhibited how she protected the library and her books. The library was enveloped with signs of "SILENCE in big black letters". The images of the capitalization of these signs convey the intensity of Mrs. Calloway's strive for an ideal reading climate, therefore exemplifying her feelings of how reading is extremely valuable. In addition, Welty characterizes Mrs. Calloway as a stern and intimidating librarian, but Welty's determination to read overpowers her fear in Mrs. Calloway. The author describes the librarian as having a "dragon eye". The choice of words the extreme experience of Mrs. Calloway's sharp, dagger-like stares from across the room. Mrs. Calloway guarded her books because they were sacred to her and held value, which the author came to know and understand. Furthermore, the depiction of Mrs. Calloway's rules about books emphasizes how much the author yearned for them. The fact that Welty could not "take back a book on the same day [she had] taken it out" and could only "take out two books" at a time disappointed her. The limits frustrated Welty because reading nourished her with the ultimate joy; she could never have enough books. The predicament she was in, however, proved to be valuable because the restrictions encouraged Welty to go back to the library and check out more books to read.