Through her Noon Wine novel, Katherine Anne Porter describes 1890s Texas settings that serve to build on the novel’s theme besides causing conflict at the end. For example, the author describes Mr. Royal Earle Thompson’s farm as barely productive primarily due to Thompson’s laziness. Strangely, Thompson holds that farm work is women’ work, indicating some mental instability in him. Amid such circumstances, Olaf Eric Helton comes to Thompson looking for work which he is promptly offered.
Helton’s employment at the Thompson farm soon proves to be very beneficial. The farm miraculously becomes very productive, making Thompson to highly value Helton. The farmhand however has the strange habit of always remaining quiet and playing harmonicas. The arrival of Homer T. Hatch at the farm brings conflict since he intends to take Helton away from the farm. Thompson cannot give Helton away while Hatch wants to return the worker to a madhouse from which Hilton escaped years back.
This incidence, which leads to Thompson mistakenly killing Hatch, amplifies the theme that both Helton and Hatch are insane in their unique ways (Porter 25). Firstly, the almost desperate way in which the Thompsons treasure Helton due to his remarkable good work, coupled with Hatch’s attempts at recapturing Helton, lead to a deadly conflict. A hallucinatory Thompson fatally hits Hatch, thinking that Hatch is killing Helton. This incidence shows that Thompson’s liking for Helton has built up to obsessive levels, where the farmer cannot bear seeing Helton move away.
Moreover, Hatch’s disclosure of Helton’s past indicates that Helton is also insane. Porter’s theme of the presence of subtle madness in characters, Helton and Thompson, is thus supported by this conflict. In conclusion, Porters, Noon Wine description of the events surrounding the Thompson farm designate both Thompson and Helton as inherently mad. In addition, Hatch’s and Thompson’s contradictory acts lead to a concluding lethal conflict. Works Cited Porter, Katherine Anne. Noon Wine. Tulsa, Oklahoma: Schuman’s, 1937.
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