31 pages 1 hour read

Katherine Anne Porter

Pale Horse, Pale Rider

Fiction | Novella | Adult | Published in 1939

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Part 1

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 1 Summary

Miranda wakes up in an unfamiliar bed and feels an urge to ride a horse. She remembers a “lank greenish stranger” (72) who has been lurking around the property. She selects a horse named Graylie and rides out across the property. The stranger rides beside her, and Miranda begins to believe that she recognizes him. She stops and tells the stranger to ride on without her. He goes, and Miranda decides that she must wake up. She rouses herself from her dream.

Miranda wakes and, for a moment, blissfully forgets about World War I. She thinks about her work at the newspaper office and the people who repeatedly visit her desk, much to her annoyance. As she prepares for work, she thinks about her weekly budget and, though she has little money, is sure that she can stretch her small wage far enough. She remembers the two men with “a stale air of borrowed importance” (73) who visited her the day before to pressure her into buying a Liberty Bond that she could not afford. The men claim that this is not a valid excuse with “the Huns overrunning the martyred Belgium” (74). Not wanting to say what she really thinks, Miranda reluctantly agreed to purchase a bond the following week.