31 pages 1 hour read

Katherine Anne Porter

Pale Horse, Pale Rider

Fiction | Novella | Adult | Published in 1939

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Important Quotes

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“Her heart was a stone lying upon her breast outside of her.”

(Part 1, Page 72)

Miranda feels alienated from the world. Even before her terrible illness, she feels as though her heart—the symbol of her capacity to love—exists outside of her. The heart has become a stone, incapable of feeling, and is no longer a part of her. Miranda’s alienation has caused her emotions to shut down and seal themselves away from the world.

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“I suppose I can make it. I suppose I should be worried. I am worried.”

(Part 1, Page 73)

Miranda is on the precipice of concern. Her life hangs in a fragile balance, between her sense of exhaustion, her unpaid bills, and her commitment to Adam. Despite these numerous problems in her life, she tries to assure herself that she’s fine. She repeats these phrases like a mantra, compelling herself to feel something other than nihilistic dread. She settles upon worry as an emotion—but only after convincing herself that this is how she should feel.

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“But he was now all Patriot, working for the government.”

(Part 1, Page 74)

Miranda’s cynicism draws a fine line between patriot and villain. The people who speak most loudly about patriotism are those who cause her the most worry. Even the government has been corrupted by this discourse, illustrating the transformational power of the war. Neither