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Realization In Welty's A Piece Of News

2345 words - 9 pages

Realization in Welty's A Piece of NewsRuby's death fantasy reflects the conflict between her wants, needs, and life in this Eudora Welty story. We first meet Ruby while she is coming in from a storm with a package of coffee wrapped in newspaper from a man from Tennessee. We find out later that she has a habit of hitchhiking and picking up men from Tennessee. Welty writes, "When Clyde would make her blue, she would go out onto the road, some car would slow down, and if it had a Tennessee license, the lucky kind, the chances were that she would spend the afternoon in the shed of the empty gin" (14).When Ruby comes in out of the rain, both she and the package are soaking wet. After drying herself off a little by the fire, she spreads the wet newspaper on the floor and lies down. Soon, she looks at the newspaper and reads her name: "Mrs. Ruby Fisher had the misfortune to be shot in the leg by her husband this week" (13). Immediately, Ruby connects her husband, Clyde to the crime, and she shouts out to him in the storm. However, she slowly realizes that "it was unlike Clyde to take up a gun and shoot her" (14). Nonetheless, she fantasizes about her funeral in a daydream, and when Clyde finally arrives home, she shows him the excerpt from the newspaper. Clyde vehemently denies the charges but, for a moment, is taken by Ruby's assertion. In the end, Clyde proves to Ruby that the story cannot be about them because the newspaper is from Tennessee, and the storm rolls "away to faintness like a wagon crossing a bridge" (16).Throughout the narrative, Ruby's comings and goings are intimately connected to the storm outside. Specifically, the storm mirrors Ruby's innermost thoughts and implies the cyclical nature of Ruby's experiences. Although Ruby is portrayed as odd or crazy, her connection with the storm and her ability to visualize her emotional situation with Clyde in her imagined funeral, points to a higher or intuitive intelligence. However, despite Ruby's realization, at the end of the story she fails to change her situation, and the reader is led to believe that the cycle of misunderstanding between Ruby and Clyde will continue. Ruby's peculiar mental state, connection with the storm, realization at the end of the story, and stifled ability to bargain with Clyde all point to a burgeoning but incomplete transformational journey.Ruby initiates phase one of Pratt's transformational journey, splitting off from family, husband, or lovers, by hitchhiking. This phase is characterized by "an acute consciousness of the world of the ego and of a consequent turning away from societal norms" (139). In this case, Ruby is rejecting her role as Clyde's faithful wife by seeking out other men. She is conscious of the fact that her marriage is unfulfilling and looks outside of her marriage to find fulfillment.Ruby's "acute consciousness" is manifest in the way that Welty portrays Ruby as slow, almost crazy. "She must have been lonesome and slow all her life, the way...

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