What role does the freak show play in the story’s plot and in its thematic structure?

Eudora Welty’s The Petrified Man contains characters that could be described as “grotesque.” Which characters could be considered grotesque and why? What role does the freak show play in the story’s plot and in its thematic structure? Mrs. Fletcher says, “I despise freaks.” How does this statement reveal her feelings about her pregnancy? What does Mrs. Pike and Leota’s response to Mr. Petrie tell us about them? It seems as if Mrs. Pike frequent freak shows like those quite often. Leota even begins seeing a fortuneteller who will divine her future for her. What is it about the unknown that is so appealing to Leota? Why does she do everything possible to take the mystery out of things?

In an essay of four to six pages, discuss the theme of the grotesque in The Petrified Man. For this essay, you must use primary and secondary sources.

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