Pale Horse, Pale Rider Critical Context
by Katherine Anne Porter

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Critical Context

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

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Written long before young adult fiction was viewed as a distinct genre, the three novels in Pale Horse, Pale Rider have nevertheless become accepted classics for young adults as well as for a broader audience. The novels, along with her collection of stories in Flowering Judas and Other Stories (1930) and The Leaning Tower and Other Stories (1944), established Katherine Anne Porter as one of the best American writers of short fiction in the twentieth century. Pale Horse, Pale Rider reflects the careful craftsmanship, the rich symbolism, and the recurrent themes of all of her best works. Although each novel reveals the isolation, mutability, and spiritual poverty that characterize most of Porter’s works and although each ends tragically, each also produces the final effect of great tragedy—a cathartic renewal.