Katherine Anne Porter the Life and Work Thesis

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Katherine Anne Porter

The Life and Work of Katherine Anne Porter

Born on May 15, 1890, Katherine Ann Porter lived a long life of 91 years, during which time she became famous for her work as a writer and journalist (Flanders, 1979). She lived in a time when women played by men's rules, but somehow she rose above this obstacle and became well-respected for her writing, which dealt with issues relating to peace, justice, and psychology.

Katherine Ann Porter's real name is Callie Russell Porter (Flanders, 1979). She was born in Indian Creek, Texas to Harrison Boone Porter and Mary Alice Jones Porter, and is a direct descendant of the famous American pioneer Daniel Boone. Her mother died just two years after her birth, at which time her family moved in with her grandmother, Catherine Ann Porter, in Kyle, Texas. She lived there until her grandmother died in 1901. Later, she paid homage to her grandmother's influence by taking her name.

Surprisingly, Porter received little education when she was growing up (Unrue, 2005). After her grandmother died, her family roamed around several towns in Texas and Louisiana, where she attended whatever schools would accept her. After grammar school, she didn't attend school. In a 1941 letter to her nephew, Paul Porter, she explained this secret of her success (Wilson, 1998): "I began to read with excitement and interest, when I was very little, and I read far beyond my years, and only got my education, the kind of education able to use later, in just that way."

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At the age of 16, Porter married a man named John Henry Koontz, who was physically abusive (Liberman, 1971). For several years, she endured drunken rages, including one in which Koontz threw her down a staircase, breaking her right ankle.

In 1914 she ran away to Chicago and started working as an extra in movies. She later returned to Texas, where she worked as an actress and singer. In 1915, although divorce was largely unthinkable in Texas, she divorced Koontz and legally changed her name to Katherine Anne Porter.

Thesis on Katherine Anne Porter the Life and Work Assignment

Porter's life was filled with struggles (Liberman, 1971). In 1915, she became will with tuberculosis and lived in sanitariums for two years. When she recovered, she got a job with the Fort Worth Critic as a play critic and society gossip writer. She soon moved on to write for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, Colorado. While in Denver, she fell ill again, this time nearly dying of influenza. However, she lived to write about her experiences.

Porter's story, Pale Horse, Pale Rider, is based on this time of her life. The book is about Miranda, a young woman working for a newspaper who travels around to hospitals to cheer up wounded soldiers, who survives the epidemic only to discover that Adam, the love of her life, has died from the disease (Wilson, 1998). The story was praised as a strong depiction of the suffering endured during the epidemic, which claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

I don't imagine I'll ever be a popular writer," Porter wrote to her father in 1931 (Wilson, 1998). "I simply want to be free to say what I feel and think exactly as I am able -- leave my testament, if you like, offer my evidence of what I found in this life and how it seemed to me, and what I was able to make of it."

This letter was penned in the early years of a writing career that lasted six decades, and included dozens of awards and acclaims.

In 1919, she moved to Greenwich Village in New York City, where she worked as a ghost writer. A year later, she took a job with a magazine publisher in Mexico and started learning about the Mexican leftist movement. During this time, she met Diego Rivera, the famous Mexican painter who was a leader in the movement. While at first she was fascinated by the political views of these people, she soon became disillusioned with the movement and its leaders. She also started questioning and criticizing religion -- a struggle she dealt with until the end of her life when she accepted the Roman Catholic Church.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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