Swimming lessons are the focal point of the opening scene of “Moon Lake,” the lessons and the cruel tension between town kids and orphans.  Mrs. Gruenwald, the swimming instructor, is every bit as fascinating as the children.  And, as always, Welty has an incredible sense of closure.  The scene ends with this:  “Mrs. Gruenwald, who capered before breakfast, believed in evolution, and put her face in the water, was quarter of a mile out.  If she said anything, they couldn’t hear her for the frogs.”

Beautiful.  The “before breakfast” part makes me think of the line in Through the Looking Glass about believing impossible things before breakfast.  This is wonderful language to depict the child’s view.  And the frogs.  Oh yeah, the frogs.

Advertisements