Character Analysis Of Katherine Anne Porter's He

1314 words - 5 pages

Character Analysis of Katherine Anne Porter's He


In Katherine Anne Porter's short story "He," she presents several themes that she develops primarily through the actions of the main characters, particulary Mrs. Whipple. Porter portrays a poor, lower class Southern 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. Whipple's's relationship with her mentally retarded son and her behavior toward Him. Other characters, such as her husband Mr. Whipple and their two "able-bodied" children Adna and Emly serve to expand the story's themes and highlight the extremity of Mrs. Whipple's 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 effort to maintain a front for her neighbors, however, surrounds her "simple-minded son," who never has any identity 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 some 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 can do anything . . . " (325). Such exclamations, the author tells us "seemed to ease her mind" (324). In these quotations we see clearly how Mrs. Whipple's actions do not represent a true immense affection fro Him of a belief in his normality, but a desperate attempt at self- validation.

In addition, Mrs. Whipple shows "public concern" for her son, but behind closed doors he does not get special, or even equal, treatment. In addition, Mrs. Whipple shows "public concern" for her son, but behind closed doors he does not get special, or even equal, treatment. When he climbed trees or later goes to get the bull, Mrs. Whipple is not worried about His safety but what the neighbors will think if he gets hurt. She is petrified that someone would say she had neglected her duties. However, when Emly gets cold, she gets His blankets (325). Although Mrs. Whipple makes grand demonstrations to her neighbors, He seems somewhat exploited in the household. Even after he becomes ill, he works in the field. After his illness during the winter, "He walked as if His feet hurt Him." The very next sentence, though, tells us that despite this, "He was able to run a cotton planter during the season" (329). A genuine concern for His welfare would not lead to such actions. If Mrs. Whipple really feared for his life as much as she said she did, she would exhibit and act on a desire...

Find Another Essay On Character Analysis of Katherine Anne Porter's He

Review and Character Analysis of Katherine Mansfield's Miss Brill

1041 words - 4 pages The character, Miss Brill, lives in a fantasy world that hides her aging and loneliness. Throughout the story denial of the character is depicted through her actions and interactions with others. Miss Brill spends her Sunday afternoon seated on a park bench. She watches others around her and pretends that they are all actors in a play; this vividly expresses Miss Brill's fantasy and denial, as do other importances in the story. In, "Miss Brill

Analysis of Granny Weatherall in the Jilting of Granny Weatherall by Katherine Anne Porter

1031 words - 5 pages In the short story, "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall," written by Katherine Anne Porter, it is essentially focused on Granny Weatherall, an old woman who is in her death bed who is reminiscing about important life events, her young days and her children.. Granny's strong character and personality reminded me of my own grandfather, who had the same character as Granny Weatherall. The reason why I chose this particular short story was that it

Analysis of Anne Hutchinsons trial

854 words - 4 pages colony. In the quote he is showing Anne that the colony, and even God (which is crazy out of this world) believes what she did was be wrong. As you read through the document another quote catches your eye. Winthrop says to Hutchinson: “I would ask you this one question then, wether never any man was at your meeting? There are two meetings kept at their house. Are the both constant? Anne replies with: No, but upon occasions they are

A description of the movie "Anne of a Thousand Days" as well as character analysis and theme of the movie

981 words - 4 pages Plot:A warrant for the death of Anne Boleyn is brought to King Henry for him to sign. Anne is married to King Henry and is charged with adultery and high treason. The King seems to be having trouble signing the death warrant.------------------------------------------------------------------------King Henry was married to Catherine of Aragon before he got married to Anne Boleyn. King Henry believed his marriage to Catherine was condemned in

The Jilting of Granny Weatherall, by Katherine Anne Porter and Sonny’s Blues, by James Baldwin

719 words - 3 pages In the short story “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” by Katherine Anne Porter and “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin both authors make a strong connection between lightness and darkness as symbols throughout the story. Dark and Light can represent two opposing forces, whether good and evil or love and hate. In both stories light is used to show calmness and positive elements while darkness is used to show personal problems and negative

Critical analysis of anne bradstreet's Prologue

1212 words - 5 pages Anne Bradstreet's "Prologue"Even though it less well-known than "Contemplations," Anne Bradstreet's seemingly less ambitious poem "Prologue," is actually a tense and accomplished exploration of the Puritanical impulse to relate spirituality to every day life. The material landscape of the "Prologue" is fiercer, more intimate, and more realistic than the landscapes referenced in of her other poems, because it is more personal. The introduction

The boss, a crutical analysis of Katherine Mansfield's The Fly

946 words - 4 pages The BossWe have all experienced traumatic incidents in our lives. Some of us have endured more than others. But the question remains: How much is enough? At what point is a person tired of fighting? When will a person give up hope for survival? Such is the question that confronts the boss in Katherine Mansfields short story, 'The Fly.' The boss is an intelligent and determined individual who has overcome many obstacles in his life. However, he

Character Analysis of Mercutio

993 words - 4 pages Character Analysis of Mercutio Mercutio is always bursting with energy and his speeches are full of extravert ideas. He is very extravagant and wild. All the attention is drawn to him, he brings out the humor in most situations. Shakespeare uses Mercutio to divert the attention to him and to enlighten the scenes causing it to be taken light heartedly

Character Analysis of Romeo

3041 words - 12 pages Character Analysis of Romeo Romeo and Juliet is a tale of two star-crossed lovers who in their love for each other were willing to sacrifice their lives. Romeo is a very temperamental person; his character develops considerably throughout the play in various ways. In this essay I shall be looking closely at Romeo’s character, his intentions & abilities and his relationship with other characters in the play. In

Character Analysis of Macduff

899 words - 4 pages save Scotland by ridding the country of its’ apocryphal king. Through this, Macduff can be characterized as Macbeth’s honorable and brave opposition and the hero of the play. The role of Macduff is an essential one in Macbeth. He acts as the brave antagonist and foil to Macbeth, while portraying a dynamic and round character in the play as well. Macduff’s values do not change throughout the play however, as acts progress, more is learned

Character Analysis of Bosola

1212 words - 5 pages Both of the above quotations have elements of truth to them, but I think that to look at the character of Bosola, an audience would concentrate more on his actions and how they change his interpretation of the brothers, causing him to kill them at the end of the play. There are many layers to Bosolas character which encourage us to think that he is mentally unstable, e.g. killing the Duchess for his own self-interest as well as for the brothers

Similar Essays

Examination Of Characters In Katherine Anne Porter's Short Story He

1086 words - 4 pages Examination of Characters in Katherine Anne Porter's Short Story He Katherine Anne Porter's moving and stylistically cohesive short story "He" contains much worth discussing. The story's characters are quite memorable and provide for interesting character studies; in addition, the plot and themes of the story are also noteworthy. The most elaborately detailed character is Mrs. Whipple. She is the dominating member of the Whipple

Katherine Anne Porter's Rope Essay

1118 words - 4 pages Katherine Anne Porter's Rope   Part I: Abstract:     Like the majority of literary criticism of Katherine Anne Porter's "Rope," Jane Krause DeMouy's comments are part of a larger work examining the thread of characteristics, themes and techniques woven throughout Porter's writings. In her "Katherine Anne Porter's Women: The Eye of Her Fiction," DeMouy focuses primarily on six stories published in "The Collected

Memories In Katherine Anne Porter's The Jilting Of Granny Weatherall

1540 words - 6 pages In Katherine Anne Porter's "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall" an old woman's light is slowly fading out and memories from her past are phasing in and out of her head as she lives out her final moments. The times she was "jilted" are pouring out of her memories, releasing themselves and allowing her the peaceful death she so desires. She has good memories: memories of her children, memories of her husband, and memories of her silly father: "Her

Mrs. Whipple And Her Son In Katherine Porter's He

1220 words - 5 pages Mrs. Whipple and Her Son in Katherine Porter's He In the story "He" by Katherine Porter, the main character Mrs. Whipple is often seen as a cruel, neglectful mother who mistreats her son, and there is ample evidence to support this view. But there is another away to look at Mrs. Whipple: she can also be perceived as a pitiful mother being forced to raise a retarded child that is totally incapable of returning her love. After closer