Theftby Katherine Anne PorterFollow 10 Members

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Theft by Katherine Anne Porter
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Theft by Katherine Anne Porter Analysis
Style and Technique (Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition) print Print document PDF list Cite link Link
“Theft” is a unique short story in the Porter canon for several reasons. It is the first effort at incorporating autobiographical elements into her work. Porter developed an intense relationship with Matthew Josephson, her literary mentor and lover. His wife, after discovering the affair, told him to choose between them. Josephson chose his wife and wrote Porter a letter detailing the decision and the fervent hope they could continue working together and remain friends. Porter was
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The curtain of the story rises, and Porter’s protagonist emerges from her bath to see that her “gold cloth” purse is no longer on the bench where she spread it out to dry the night before. As she recalls the previous evening, trying to discover when it may have gone missing, we learn that she has been robbed several times either “material[ly] or intangib[ly]”(85), but not of the purse.

The subtle yet critical thefts of the night before take place, as so many petty thefts can, under the guise of friendship. As they leave a cocktail party together, her friend, Camilo, insists on walking her through the rain to the Elevated and in doing so ruins his hat; still, she thinks, he will “associate her with his misery” (79), as if his offer to walk her through rain puts her at fault. Roger, another artist friend, spots her on the steps to the Elevated and offers to take a taxi with her, but then borrows ten cents, a quarter of all the money she possesses, to pay his fare. Once in her apartment building, she runs into a playwright who owes her money for writing the third act of his play, but he won’t give it to her;
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