Grandmother as Head of Household in Katherine Anne Porter's The Old Order
In her short story, "The Old Order", Katherine Anne Porter's creation of Miss Sophia Jane--The Grandmother-- illustrates the embodiment of patriarchal power within a matriarchal figure. What intrigues me is Porter's reversal of personality traits between the Grandmother and her husband. Porter's depiction of the Grandmother paints her as the undisputed head of house-- she "wears the pants" beneath the many layers of lacy petticoats and heavy skirts.
The contrast between the Grandmother and her husband strike me as a reversal of typical gender-assigned personality traits. The Grandmother is "altogether just, humane, proud, and simple", in and of itself, I would attach these traits to a masculine man (not just any man!) (20). In contrast, the terms Porter uses to describe the Grandmother's husband, in and of themselves, are gendered, "hysterical" traits: "lack of aim, failure to act at crises, a philosophic detachment from practical affairs" (21). In the marriage of these antithetical personalities, Porter illuminates the problems faced by a headstrong women stifled by her gender-defined role in life.
Atypically, the Grandmother was the head of the household. undeniably the dominant figure-- for virtually everything. Her husband "disliked and feared her deadly willfulness, her certainty that her feelings were not only right, but beyond criticism", and in doing so he loathed the traits that normally sit with a male head of house (21). In doling out her authority, the Grandmother may have been perceived as unwavering, but "her own doubts and hesitations she concealed. as a matter of duty" (11). There was no "female" emotionality behind the Grandmother's actions, what was rational was right; the Grandmother's husband took care of any illogical thinking and foolhardy ventures.
The Grandmother was undeniably "before her time". While she embodied the persona of a patriarch, she was unable to fully assume her role-- and I'm not talking the male sexual role.
"Grandmother as Head of Household in Katherine Anne Porter's The Old Order." 123HelpMe.com. 25 Feb 2017
While she was the authority on nearly every matter, her husband often took control, and created disaster. his ability to do so based on his sex alone. Unable to manage her money and assets, the Grandmother watched as her husband squandered her dowry. As she said, "her natural activities lay elsewhere", and while she may have accepted this gender-defined role, she did not let gender stop her once her husband passed.
It is suggested that Porter’s model of ‘5’ Generic competitive strategies can be a useful tool in the process of developing and implementing effective business strategies in organisations. Describe the core elements of this model and then illustrate how they can be used in an organisation’s strategic management process. You may select a business sector of your choice to use as an example in the essay.
Michael Porter has argued that a firm's strengths ultimately fall into one of two headings: cost advantage and differentiation. By applying these strengths in either a broad or narrow scope, three generic strategies result: cost leadership, differentiation, and focus. These strategies are applied at the business unit level. They are called generic strategies because they are not firm or industry dependent.
The cost leadership strategy calls for being the low cost producer in an industry for a given level of quality. The firm sells its products either at average industry prices to earn a profit higher than that of rivals, or below the average industry prices to gain market share. The cost leadership strategy usually targets a broad market. Wal-Mart is an example of a company with a cost leadership strategy. Another type for the cost based is a best value strategy where products or services are offered to a wide range of customers at the best price-value available on the market.
A differentiation strategy calls for the development of a product or service that offers unique attributes that are valued by customers and that customers perceive to be better than or different from the products of the competition. Apple, for example, uses differentiation strategy.
The focus strategy concentrates on a narrow segment and within that segment attempts to achieve either a cost advantage or differentiation. The premise is that the needs of the group can be better serviced by focusing entirely on it. The focus strategy, like the cost-leadership strategy.
Porter, Katherine Anne 1890–
An American short story writer, essayist, and novelist, Porter is considered a technical master of the short story. The recipient of a Pulitzer Prize, Porter instills her work with profound irony, and her thematic considerations revolve around the workings of the heart and emotions, the difference between appearance and reality, and the consequences of self-deception. (See also CLC. Vols. 1, 3, 7, and Contemporary Authors. Vols. 1-4, rev. ed.)Access our Katherine Anne. Study Guide for Free
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[Katherine Anne Porter's] sense of what makes for an ending is similar to that found in Aristotle's definition of Greek tragedy; and that was an analogy that she was proudly conscious of, as she remarked. "Any true work of art has got to give you the feeling of reconciliation—what the Greeks would call catharsis, the purification of your mind and imagination—through an ending that is endurable because it is right and true. Oh, not in any pawky individual idea of morality or some parochial idea of right and wrong. Sometimes the end is very tragic, because it needs to be."
In terms of the act of writing, this can be put differently and very simply: the story must tell you, "I know where I'm going." And that is where Mr. Helton comes in. "He just clumped down his big square dusty shoes one after the other steadily, like a man following a plow, as if he knew the place well and knew where he was going and what he would find there." That's how Mr. Helton walks into the story "Noon Wine," and into Mr. Thompson's life. The story ends with Mr. Thompson walking out of his own life. As he says at the end of the story, "I still think I done the only thing there was to do" …; and there is no doubt that unless this statement of his made some kind of sense to us Miss Porter would feel that the story had failed. (pp. 230-31)
"Noon Wine," then, is a story which shows us where a man is going and what he finds when he gets there. But this sense of a direction is not something that can be grasped simply: what the story shows is the complex nature of "direction" in human life. To reverse Miss Porter's dictum, if the story creates a sense of order it does so successfully only insofar as it recognizes and respects life's confusion. The direction of a man's life is not the same as the direction a man takes when following a plow, and any writer who mistakes the one direction for the other is liable to clump down his big square dusty shoes one after the other all over his "story." When, after reading the story, we re-read that opening passage which describes the arrival of Mr. Helton, we must not only be struck by the implications of this description, now revealed by our sense of the ending, but must also believe anew in the particularity and incidental quality of the metaphor. The "as if" must genuinely lead us to the way the man walks as well as to the strange sympathies and antipathies in the story that follows.
This palpable sense of a world is vitally important to the story's meaning. What happens is intelligible only in terms of the place where it happens. It is a matter not only of direction (which is one metaphor) but also of texture (a different metaphor). The murder Mr. Thompson commits is as much a matter of the heat as anything else. "Meantime the August heat was almost unbearable, the air so thick you could poke a hole in it. The dust was inches thick on everything."… The word "thick" is just right: it comes to mean more and more from then on in the story. It is the word that describes Mr. Thompson's voice after he has struck Mr. Hatch down…. "Thick" becomes resonant, a word that explores all the bafflement and inarticulateness of the man, his dim sense of a world growing thick around him, until it becomes unbearable…. And yet that is the world which he had always felt as solidly familiar. (pp. 231-32)
The word "thick," in the phrase "thick hands," itself expresses and explains Mr. Thompson's helplessness. The same word used in the description of his Sunday suit makes us feel the solid respectability of the cloth, a respectability so important to the farmer and so stifling a part of his tragedy. Once the language of the story becomes familiar (and this need not involve noticing the repeated use of a word, of course), there seems a particular aptness and poignancy in Mr. Thompson's writing his lonely suicide note with "a stub pencil" and on "a thin pad of scratch paper" taken "from the shelf where the boys kept their schoolbooks."… It is then that he fully realizes and accepts his isolation. (p. 232)
What dominates and guides [Mrs. Thompson's] understanding of what happened is her fear and suspicion of male violence and physicality. And yet what the story, through the shape of its action and the shape of its language, makes clear, is that Mrs. Thompson's bitterness here, her frustration, is of the same order as the bitter indignation and frustration that leads her husband to kill Mr. Hatch. This is quietly brought out …: "Her thoughts stopped with a little soundless explosion, cleared and began again."… It is typical of Mrs. Thompson that her "explosions," compared to those of her husband, should be "little" and "soundless." One of the most distressing things about her husband is that he is big and loud. Mrs. Thompson is more liable to implode than explode…. (p. 234)
The measure of the difference between what the same scene means to Mr. Thompson and to Mrs. Thompson is beautifully and quietly brought out by the language of the two following passages. The first describes the slowly mounting anger that leads to Mr. Thompson's killing Mr. Hatch. "Mr. Thompson sat silent and chewed steadily and stared at a spot on the ground about six feet away and felt a slow muffled resentment climbing from somewhere deep down in him, climbing and spreading all through him."… Though he cannot find what other people would consider proper reasons for this, his sense of how things are is stronger than his sense of how they would look to other people; and in persisting to act according to his feelings he relegates everyone else to the situation of outsiders, lookers-on. When Mrs. Thompson appears, her reaction is also very much in character. "Mrs. Thompson sat down slowly against the side of the house and began to slide forward on her face; she felt as if she were drowning, she couldn't rise to the top somehow."… (pp. 235-36)
It is important that both of these reactions should be in character. Each does what he or she does upon coming to the end of thought, and something else takes over to resolve the matter. "Thought" is, in fact, an important word in the story, and part of the meaning of the story seems to move through its recurrence. It is not by any means the only word of such importance in "Noon Wine"; and of necessity these words pursue no solitary course through the narrative. They are centers of gravity, attracting and concentrating meaning. Or, to put it another way, they quietly intensify the language of the world of the story. Their relationships to each other become vital to the way they mean anything—as "thick" can be said to lead in the direction of the language of the end of the story.
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Like so much American writing—particularly Southern writing—Katherine Anne Porter's stories of the Old South ("The Old Order" series and "Old Mortality") based on her family past in antebellum Kentucky and Texas during the Reconstruction Era offer a statement about the past and its impact on the present. At the same time, these stories provide a way of approaching Porter as a woman writer. Like Faulkner—also writing about the Southern past in the mid-1930's—Porter takes as her subject the artificiality and inhumanity of the Old Order, presenting it from the standpoint of the woman's experience. While Faulkner emphasizes slavery and racial injustice, Porter takes as her subject the rigidly circumscribed experience and sexual repression of the white Southern woman—kept like the blacks in submission and fear by the doctrines, taboos and social realities of a paternalistic culture.
This theme is not restricted to Porter's stories of her native South. The theme of woman's oppression, especially emotional and sexual inhibition, may be found in everything she wrote. A feminist critical stance is a primary element in her view of American society—a view confirmed by her experience as an expatriate living in Mexico during the 1920's. Compared with the vividness of Mexican life, particularly the simplicity and spontaneity of the Mexican Indians, American culture seemed emotionally impoverished, narrowminded and dishonest. The damage to women in such a society appeared even more obvious to her. During this period Porter frequently attacked the "puritanism" of American culture, joining in with other critics of the twenties, and along this line she began a fictional biography of Cotton Mather which portrayed him as a sanctimonious hypocrite whose wife suffered martyrdom under his tyranny—jointly condemning self-serving Puritan piety and male-dominated marriage. (pp. 48-9)
Woman's emotional frustration, sexual repression and subjection to the laws of a man's world constitute a major theme in Katherine Anne Porter's fiction. Female characters, who predominate in her work, are typically damaged by their experience. Family ties, marriage and love are threats to freedom; those women who attempt to escape are usually thwarted; and even those who gain independence achieve it at great cost. For many of Porter's heroines, like those of "Flowering Judas," "Theft," and Pale Horse, Pale Rider. escape takes the form of inner withdrawal from life. Although she has long maintained an enigmatic silence about herself, the insistence with which Porter returns to the themes of female entrapment and resistance, the damage of sexual inhibition and the failure of love in the lives of women, tempts one to speculate about the personal statement embedded in her work. Her autobiographical stories may provide us with some clues.
The stories of the Old South are central to Porter's oeuvre. illuminating the fiction leading up to them and following them. They are unusual in several ways: they are openly autobiographical; though written over the span of a decade, they fall into a pattern, being united around the heroine and called the "Miranda stories" (together with Pale Horse, Pale Rider ); they present a wide variety of characters illustrating the kinds of feminine models Porter grew up with, thus providing insight into her ideas about herself and woman's role in society.
These stories make it clear that Porter's childhood experience offered her no acceptable models of womanhood. No "normal," happy young women, no satisfying or fulfilled marriage relationships are described in the Miranda stories. Closely following the author's own life, the stories tell us that Miranda's mother died when she was two, and her father is a shadowy figure. Men are usually weak, or absent characters; Miranda grew up in a matriarchal household dominated by [Sophia Jane] her grandmother, a figure (modeled on Porter's own grandmother who raised her from infancy) who stands in striking contrast to the many trapped and damaged females found throughout Porter's work.
Miranda's grandmother illustrates the only kind of freedom or self-sufficiency a woman could achieve in Porter's childhood world, yet she achieved it only after long obedience to the conventional role of wife and mother, slowly surmounting the limitations of that role, and finally freed from it only by her husband's death. A woman must be alone to be free. (pp. 49-50)
But the alternative roles are no better. Another, very different response to the woman's situation under the Old Order is exhibited by the spirited and flirtatious belle, Miranda's Aunt Amy; but Amy's capricious behavior became self-destructive, and she had died young. Amy had capitulated to the sexual role demanded of her in many ways. But she refused to relinquish her supremacy as a coquette, a sought-after object of male desire. She resisted marriage because it meant giving up her freedom.
Miranda's cousin Eva, a homely spinster, illustrates a third alternative: having failed in the sexual competition of her youth, never having found her "definition" in marriage and maternity, she had compensated by becoming self-supporting as a teacher and campaigner for women's rights. Yet Eva is bitter about her past: independence was thrust upon her because she did not succeed in fulfilling the expected feminine role. Indeed, none of these women fulfills that role—that impossible combination of beauty, charm, chastity and grace which flowers into the capable wife and devoted mother, upholding the moral, religious and cultural standards of the household, while remaining submissive to.
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Union and Confederate forces. The war was beginning toend by January of 1865. By then, Federal (Federal was another name given to the UnionArmy) armies were spread throughout the Confederacy and the Confederate Army hadshrunk extremely in size. In the year before, the North had lost an enormous amount oflives, but had more than enough to lose in comparison to the South. General Grantbecame known as the "Butcher" (Grant, Ulysses S. Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant,New York: Charles L. Webster
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& Co.,1894) and many wanted to see him removed.But Lincoln stood firm with his General, and the war continued. This paper will followthe happenings and events between the winter of 1864-65 and the surrender of TheConfederate States of America. All of this will most certainly illustrate that April 9, 1865was indeed the end of a tragedy. CUTTING OFF THE SOUTH In September of1864, General William T. Sherman and his army cleared the city of Atlanta of its civilianpopulation then rested
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ever so briefly. It was from there that General Sherman and hisarmy began its famous "march to the sea". The march covered a distance of 400 milesand was 60 miles wide on the way. For 32 days no news of him reached the North. Hehad cut himself off from his base of supplies, and his men lived on what ever they couldget from the country through which they passed. On their route, the army destroyedanything and everything that they could
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not use but was presumed usable to the enemy.In view of this destruction, it is understandable that Sherman quoted "war is hell"(Sherman, William T. Memoirs of General William T. Sherman. Westport,Conn.:Greenwood Press, 1972). Finally, on December 20, Sherman's men reached thecity of Savannah and from there Sherman telegraphed to President Lincoln: "I beg topresent you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah, with 150 heavy guns and plenty ofammunition, and also about 25,000 bales of cotton" (Sherman, William T.
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Memoirs ofGeneral William T. Sherman. Westport, Conn.:Greenwood Press, 1972). Grant haddecided that the only way to win and finish the war would be to crunch with numbers.He knew that the Federal forces held more than a modest advantage in terms of menand supplies. This in mind, Grant directed Sherman to turn around now and start headingback toward Virginia. He immediately started making preparations to provide assistanceto Sherman on the journey. General John M. Schofield and his men were to detach
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fromthe Army of the Cumberland, which had just embarrassingly defeated the Confederatesat Nashville, and proceed toward North Carolina. His final destination was to beGoldsboro, which was roughly half the distance between Savannah and Richmond. Thisis where he and his 20,000 troops would meet Sherman and his 50,000 troops.Sherman began the move north in mid-January of 1865. The only hope of Confederateresistance would be supplied by General P.G.T. Beauregard. He was scraping togetheran army with every resource he could lay his
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hands on, but at best would only be able tomuster about 30,000 men. This by obvious mathematics would be no challenge to thecombined forces of Schofield and Sherman, let alone Sherman. Sherman's plan was tomarch through South Carolina all the while confusing the enemy. His men would march intwo ranks: One would travel northwest to give the impression of a press against Augustaand the other would march northeast toward Charleston. However the one trueobjective would be Columbia. Sherman's force arrived
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in Columbia on February 16.The city was burned to the ground and great controversy was to arise. TheConfederates claimed that Sherman's men set the fires "deliberately, systematically, andatrociously". However, Sherman claimed that the fires were burning when they arrived.The fires had been set to cotton bales by Confederate Calvary to prevent the FederalArmy from getting them and the high winds quickly spread the fire. The controversywould be short lived as no proof would ever be presented. So with Columbia,Charleston, and
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Augusta all fallen, Sherman would continue his drive north towardGoldsboro. On the way, his progress would be stalled not by the Confederate army butby runaway slaves. The slaves were attaching themselves to the Union columns and bythe time the force entered North Carolina, they numbered in the thousands (Barrett, JohnG. Sherman's March through the Carolinas. Chapel Hill: The University of NorthCarolina Press, 1956). But Sherman's force pushed on and finally met up with Schofieldin Goldsboro on March 23rd. THE END
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IS PLANNED Sherman immediately leftGoldsboro to travel up to City Point and meet Grant to discuss plans of attack. When hearrived there, he found not only Grant, but also Admiral David Porter waiting to meetwith President Lincoln. So on the morning of the March 28th, General Grant, GeneralSherman, and Admiral Porter all met with Lincoln on the river boat "River Queen" todiscuss a strategy against General Lee and General Johnston of the Confederate Army.Several times Lincoln asked "can't this last
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battle be avoided?" (Angle and Miers, TragicYears, II) but both Generals expected the Rebels (Rebs or Rebels were a name given toConfederate soldiers) to put up at least one more fight. It had to be decided how tohandle the Rebels in regard to the upcoming surrender (all were sure of a surrender).Lincoln made his intentions very clear: "I am full of the bloodshed. You need to defeatthe opposing armies and get the men composing those armies back to their homes
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towork on their farms and in their shops." (Sherman, William T. Memoirs of GeneralWilliam T. Sherman. Westport, Conn.:Greenwood Press, 1972) The meeting lasted fora number of hours and near its end, Lincoln made his orders clear: "Let them oncesurrender and reach their homes, they won't take up arms again. They will at once beguaranteed all their rights as citizens of a common country. I want no one punished, treatthem liberally all around. We want those people to return to their
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allegiance to the Unionand submit to the laws." (Porter, David D. Campaigning with Grant. New York: TheCentury Co. 1897) Well with all of the formalities outlined, the Generals and Admiralknew what needed to be done. Sherman returned to Goldsboro by steamer ;Grant andPorter left by train back north. Sherman's course would be to continue north withSchofield's men and meet Grant in Richmond. However, this would never happen as Leewould surrender to Grant before Sherman could ever get there. THE PUSH
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FOR THEEND General Grant returned back to his troops who were
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