Thesis Title

Behind the Mask: Katherine Anne Porter's Reportage of the Female Experience

Date of Graduation

Summer 2000


Master of Arts in English



Committee Chair

Jane Hoogestraat

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature


This study explores the life and fiction of Katherine Anne Porter and uses the tools of feminist critical theory to expose her subtle revelation of the female experience behind culturally imposed masks. Explicable in this light, the enigma of her life and writing dissolves as she lifts the masks, validating the communal experiences of women and revealing the oppressors that silence their voices. By exploring the identity development of the autobiographical protagonist, Miranda, and analyzing the hidden consciousness of the adult female characters of Ship of Fools, this thesis presents a unified picture of Katherine Anne Porter's works--reportage by her own admission--as an expression of a woman's potential for an independent identity in a dictatorial patriarchal society. When Porter's protagonists shed their disguises, they simultaneously present the inner lives and outer masks of women to reveal the supreme fiction--woman.


© Jimmie D. Huffman