Friday, March 22, 2019
Character Analysis of Katherine Anne Porters He Essay -- Katherine An
guinea pig Analysis of Katherine Anne Porters He In Katherine Anne Porters short story He, she presents several themes that she develops in the main through the actions of the main characters, particulary Mrs. Whipple. Porter portrays a poor, lower class Confederate family and the difficulties they encounter. More importantly, she centers the story around the feelings of shame, pride, and an exaggerated concern for appearances through Mrs. Whippless relationship with her cordially retarded son and her behavior toward Him. Other characters, such as her preserve Mr. Whipple and their two able-bodied children Adna and Emly serve to expand the storys themes and highlight the process of Mrs. Whipples actions. Early in the story we see how vital appearance is to Mrs. Whipple. She remarks to her husband that no one should ever hear them complain (324). Her real labor to maintain a front for her neighbors, however, surrounds her simple-minded son, who never has any individuation other than He. It seems that Mrs. Whipple fears that if those around her know He is retarded, this would reflect badly on her character. Many times, unfortunately, parents of children with any birth defect worry they have or so blame to account for. Mrs. Whipple, unfortunately, represents a rather extreme case. She seemed to believe that by over-loving her son in public and refusing to acknowledge his handicap, she could avoid social stigma and somehow quell her own insecurities. Mrs. Whipple comments to whoever would listen that He is strong, capable, and He peck do anything . . . (325). Such exclamations, the author tells us seemed to ease her mind (324). In these quotations we see clearly how Mrs. Whipples actions... ...ok sick (332). Furthermore, she takes care to dress in her good enough clothes, so no one will think she looks like charity. even up as she is about to lose her son, she cannot let go of her need to shake off on a performance for th e society she feels has shunned her. Porters story gives its audience a powerful lesson that extends far beyond social standing or mental handicaps. The pathetic example of Him shows us just how far many of us go for mere illusions. Mrs. Whipple was willing to sacrifice her son and her familys welfare in order to mask their situation. To a world of airbrushing and political propaganda, Porter shows how sober the game of pretense can become and how the innocent often put on the brunt of the harm. Work CitedPorter, Katherine Anne. He. The Literature of the American South. Ed. William L. Andrews. New York Norton. 1998.