Analysis of Paragraph on Page 271-272 of Porter’s Pale Horse, Pale Rider

Analysis of Paragraph on Page 271-272 of Porter’s Pale Horse, Pale Rider

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Analysis of Paragraph on Page 271-272 of Porter’s Pale Horse, Pale Rider



In the opening sentence of this paragraph, two workers at the newspaper office are described. They are not, however, described as people though, they are instead said to be solely “two pairs of legs” (Porter 271). By describing solely this part of the people, Porter is drawing attention to a part of the body seemingly unrelated to newspaper writing. This gives the reader the impression that these two writers are either unskilled in the area or writing, or unimportant to the speaker. Interestingly, the legs are also described as, “dangling,” which paints the picture of a lifeless body. This could be perhaps indicating that these people are dead to her; both unimportant and unwanted. Porter then goes on to describe the legs as being “stuffed thickly into funnels of dark expensive-looking material.” The way in which this is described seems to imply that the fabric itself is strangling these legs that have now become representative of the speaker’s time at the newspaper. By describing the material as “dark” and “expensive looking,” Porter makes the writers at the newspaper appear to be both evil and fake. As Porter continues her description of the two writers, she notes how one of then was “oldish” and the other “youngish.” The vagueness in this description goes along with the feeling of universality in the writers that Porter has achieved by having them represented by a mere body part. Also, by having one writer be old, and the other young, the writers are closer to representing every man.

As Porter describes the writers as having a “stale air of borrowed importance which apparently they had got from the same source” she is indicating that the newspaper itself, and thus the media is the source that writers in this wartime community derive their unreal importance. Porter makes the speaker seem almost intimidated by the writers as she euphemistically refers to them as being “well nourished” rather than fat. This is again referenced when Porter states that Miranda “pulled out her chair without removing her cap or gloves (…) as if she had not a moment to spare.” Miranda’s resentment of the newspaper community is embodied in these two people.

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They make whatever they are writing about, “no matter what their business was (…) something unpleasant.” The newspaper world and the writers within it are not concerned with Miranda, as they “did not move, or take off their hats.” They don’t even respond to her as she greets them with salutations. Miranda is obviously contrasted to these people, and the newspaper world in general, as she clearly does not relate to them at all. They are simply figures present at her work, nothing more.
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