“He” is basically a story written by Katherine Anne Porter that focuses on the struggles of a family, the Whipples, to overcome poverty. Although the Whipples’ battles against poverty are clearly stated throughout the entire story, the main focus is primarily on Mrs. Whipple, the main character, and her superficial personality that basically contradicts with the other characters of the story. In the story, Mrs.
Whipple was clearly portrayed as an optimistic person, especially in the presence of other people such as the Whipples’ friends and family. She was mainly concerned in making it appear that her family was living a good and normal life despite their highly impoverished condition, which makes her an epitome of a superficial person. In the story, her superficial personality is basically highlighted in the way she treated her youngest son, who is only known as “he” and is only described as “simple-minded.
” While it is evident that her son has noticeable physical disabilities and obvious intellectual limitations, she refuses to acknowledge her son’s condition and does her best to make it appear that he is normal for she fears that her friends and neighbors would talk about him if they learn of his illness. This was best illustrated when she kept her son in the living room when her brother arrived for a visit. She made an excuse to her brother as well as the visiting neighbors that her son was shy and timid.
Furthermore, her personality is also shown when her son had to be taken to a county hospital due to an accident. Initially, Mrs. Whipple refused to let her son go as she said that it was embarrassing for the neighbors to see her son being taken away in an ambulance. In the end, she relents and agrees to have her son taken away. However, despite her son’s deteriorating conditions, her superficial personality still prevailed as she wept at the end of the story simply because she felt extremely sorry that her son was ever born and that he could never become normal like other children.