Katherine Anne Porter American Literature Analysis
Compared to many other successful and renowned writers, Porter published a rather small amount of writing. Among the reasons were that, by her own account, she burned many of her manuscripts and made no attempt to publish anything at all until she was thirty years old. Her fiction comprised twenty-three short stories, four short novels, and one long novel. Perhaps another reason for this rather small amount of published fiction is that Porter had to earn her living in ways other than writing, primarily as a teacher and lecturer.
Her fiction is closely related to her firsthand experiences, thus avoiding generalizations in favor of close observation, deeply felt emotions, and careful craft. Although the work is not obviously autobiographical, it is clearly based on places and people that she knew. Three distinct groups constitute Porter’s fiction: working-class or middle-class families, situations and persons in Mexico or Germany (including a ship voyaging between the two countries), and various relationships explored against a background of the South and the Southwest.
Porter lacks what could be called “vulgar appeal,” but her meticulous devotion to clear, plain writing and her conviction that human life has meaning, even in the chaos of world catastrophe, made her a writer whose themes—love, marriage, other relationships, and alien cultures—appeal to readers who value serious subjects treated seriously and language that is precise...
(The entire section is 3096 words.)
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