Monday, March 2, 2009

Short Story: The Wide Net by Eudora Welty

William Wallace Jamieson's wife Hazel was going to have a baby.

The Wide Net/Thirteen Stories by Eudora Welty

The story is set in 1930s in Mississippi's Gulf Coast. William and Hazel have only been married for a year and still are very much in love. But when William stays out one night drinking with his buddies, Hazel vanishes out of his life leaving a note saying she was going to drown herself. He is shocked out of his wits. He also knows that she is afraid of water but one can never predict what goes on in a woman's mind.

He calls out to his friend Virgil and both contemplate what to do. They know they have to involve the community to search for her or her body at least. They get a big wide net from the doctor and involve many people, and go out to the river. In that river, they find many interesting things but no Hazel.

They also catch a good amount of fish, which they sell! William is sad that he can't find Hazel but he is matter of fact and practical about it too. The story tells us about community involvement and support, the conflict bettween a newly married couple.

The detailing keeps us interested along with banter between the people who involved in rescueing. The fine prose is a pleasure to read. Although I somehow knew the ending before hand, I sure felt good reading it.