A Different Look At Flannery O’connor

591 words - 2 pages

A Different Look at Flannery O’Connor

A murdering messiah. A Bible-selling prosthesis thief. A corpse in full Confederate regalia waiting in line a Coca-Cola machine. One of the most haunting qualities about Flannery O'Connor's fiction is the often shocking but always memorable images adding intensity to her stories. Her violent comedy is a fusion of opposite realities--an explosive meeting between contradictory forces. She creates characters from the southern grandmothers, mothers, preachers, neighbors, and assorted "good country people" populating her world, using their traits, words and behaviors to give her fictional world life. And we are as familiar with them as she is. We know them; they could be people from our region, our town, our family. Just regular folks. But she pushes them beyond normal boundaries, beyond any reality we or they could imagine by introducing them to their opposite. The person on the other end of reality. For example, the grandmother in "A Good Man is Hard to Find" appears to be the stereotypical grandmother busily involved in her family's life, concerning herself with vacations, grandchildren, and neat white gloves. However, O'Connor strips her character clean of any of the grandmotherly graces and renders her as a Frankenstein-like compilation of the hateful manners of the South--the Old South morality padded by lady-like pretensions and complacency. Balanced against this force is its opposite--The Misfit. He is an escaped criminal. A murderer. A stranger to most of us and to the grandmother. This killer, though, is presented as a savior of sorts, a self-reflective, honest man with vision. The collision between these conflicting entities is typical of O'Connor's work; her stories are energized by diverse incarnations of the...

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