literary analysis of katherine anne porters he

literary analysis of katherine anne porters he - 1 Mr...

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1 Mr. Scherer English 102-04 31 March 2008 Neglect The definition of a mother is someone who cares for her child and will do anything for her child. In Katherine Anne Porter’s “He,” Mrs. Whipple fails to follow this definition. Mr. and Mrs. Whipple have three children, one of their children is mentally challenged. The simply refer to this child as He. Throughout Porter’s story, the Whipples neglect and ignore the needs of Him. However, Mrs. Whipple is more disingenuous than her husband when it comes to neglecting Him and not looking out for His best interests. Additionally, Mrs. Whipple embodies an unjust mother to Him through the various ways she mistreats Him. Mrs. Whipple demonstrates how she represents a terrible mother by the way she values the opinions of others over her son’s best interest, ignores His special needs, and treats Him unfairly compared to her other children. Without any regard for His well-being, Mrs. Whipple focuses mainly on the neighbors’ opinions as to how she treats Him. When describing His abilities, Mrs. Whipple states, “I can’t afford to let Him do anything for fear they’ll come nosing around about it” (77). Clearly, Mrs. Whipple does not care about His welfare and merely dictates the way she treats him based upon the opinions of neighbors. If Mrs. Whipple did care about His safety, then she would not need to prove herself to the neighbors because she would know that she cares for Him the best she can treat Him. Additionally, when Mrs. Whipple’s brother visits for dinner she scolds Him for dirtying His clothes. Before boxing his ears, Mrs. Whipple disciplines Him by declaring, “Get off that shirt and put on another, people will say I don’t half dress you” (78). By yelling at Him 2
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for simply playing and becoming dirty, Mrs. Whipple guides her treatment of Him based on what
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