Literary Criticism In 'The Grave' By Katherine Anne Porter

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Katherine Anne Porter is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist, essayist, short story writer, novelist, and political activist known for writing thought provoking stories of the human heart and nature around our lives through relatable everyday realities. Although the writer claims, “I do not believe in style. The style is you”, the structures of her works are very complex. In Porter’s short story, “The Grave”, two main characters are introduced as siblings named Miranda, 9, and Paul, 12. The encounters the children have with their findings in the old graveyard of the silver dove and gold ring come to mean much more than the reader realizes at first glance. Lacking the guidance of a mother figure, Miranda grows up in a male dominated…show more content…
One example of her works is a short story titled, “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall.” In this, Porter tells the story of a woman being jilted at the alter, jilted by her children, and jilted on her deathbed. As Ray B. West, author of Twentieth Century Literary Criticism, writes, “Miss Porter 's experience, then, is not only of the fixed, almost absolute, values of Southern society, but also of our relationship to them in the face of a history of movement and of change.” This is evidence that although her writings may be based on the past social norms of the twentieth century, the lessons and values exposed are still relevant today, decades after she has died. Porter’s method of composition is to write from memory. “When an incident strikes her as having meaning, she makes a note; as details accumulate, she adds other notes.” (West 1). At some point in the process, all of the individual details seem to merge into a pattern. After gathering and grouping all her notes together, she sits down and writes the short…show more content…
Nine year old Miranda’s sudden epiphany of womanhood occurs when her twelve year old brother, Paul, takes her on a hunting trip and shoots a pregnant rabbit, the symbol of fertility and rebirth. Although Miranda knew the process of having a baby and what it included, it never registered to her as it did now. The lack of a mother figure in her life has deprived Miranda of many characteristics an average nine year old girl at this time should have, including wearing dresses and fixing her hair. In this short story, the reader learns that events, such as Miranda’s encounter with the rabbit in the graveyard, can leave a lasting impact on a person’s life. When the effects of the events are negative, Porter suggests that the bad memories be replaced with the warm ones to give yourself a feeling of calmness and relief. When you have control over your thoughts, you have control over your
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