“A Piece of News” Summary: Eudora Welty Short Story

A Piece of News Eudora Welty Summaryshort story
“A Piece of News” Summary

“A Piece of News” is a short story by Eudora Welty from her collection A Curtain of Green and Other Stories. It’s about a married couple with a highly dysfunctional relationship who get confused by a news item that seems to refer to the wife, Ruby. She tries to process the information before confronting him with it. Here’s a summary of “A Piece of News”.

“A Piece of News” Summary

Ruby Fisher leans over the fireplace in her cabin drying her tangled yellow hair. She’s just come in from the rain. Ruby has a sack of coffee on her table that was wrapped in newspaper. She unwraps it and spreads the newspaper out on the floor in front of the fireplace. She lies on the paper and finishes drying her hair.

Ruby looks at the newspaper. She sees something that gives her mixed emotions. One of the reports says, “Mrs. Ruby Fisher had the misfortune to be shot in the leg by her husband this week.” She takes this information in with deference.

Suddenly angry, she calls out to Clyde Fisher and opens the door. He isn’t there, so she shuts out the wind and rain again. Her anger dissipates but she moves around anxiously. Ruby lies by the fireplace again. She thinks of her husband, Clyde, out in the woods at his still.

She tries to figure things out. It’s not like Clyde to shoot her. He slaps her sometimes. Like if he found out about the coffee guy in the Pontiac. When she’s upset with Clyde, she finds someone out on the road to spend the afternoon with in the shed.

Ruby relaxes in the warmth and gets sleepy. She imagines Clyde shooting her, maybe in the heart. She would die and Clyde would have to dig a grave and bury her, wild with the knowledge that she’s gone. She looks out the window at the storm.

Clyde comes in from the storm and demands supper. Ruby puts away the paper and lights the lamp. He sits at the table, still wet from outside. Ruby prepares the meal slowly and places gives it to him. He asks if she’s been hitchhiking again. He hits the table when she splashes a little coffee on his wrist. He threatens her with a good beating one day.

When Clyde finishes, Ruby places the paper in front of him, pointing out the story. He reads it and says it’s a lie, but Ruby asserts that it’s in the paper. The argument is stalemated for a few moments. Clyde throws the paper into the fire.

They watch it burn. Clyde realizes it’s a Tennessee paper. The report is about a different “Ruby Fisher”. Clyde acts like he was never confused over it. Ruby’s hands tremble as she looks out the window. It’s quiet now as the storm has rolled away.

I hope this summary of “A Piece of News” by Eudora Welty was helpful.