Flannery O'connor Essay

2061 words - 8 pages

Violence and Religion Within Flannery O'Connor's Writing Style Flannery O'Connor can most easily be described as one of America's most distinguished literary artists. She has created a stunning reputation for herself through her novels and the many short stories written during her time. Within each of these pieces of literature are similar styles of writing, techniques, and themes. Each short story or novel written by Flannery O'Connor resembles another piece of her literary work in many different ways. For example, the references to death in her work are extremely abundant as are her use of similes. The reader can find the phrase "as if" in almost every description that O'Connor is trying to shape. Meaning and theme were also very important to Flannery O'Connor as were her stories' endings. The end is where O'Connor finally reveals the point and the meaning that she had in store.Flannery O'Connor always had an ending in mind even before she began to write her story. There was always some meaning that she was trying to get across to the audience, but unfortunately she always ran into trouble with presenting these ideas within the story. This is why she always changed her endings many times after editing her stories(Quinn 106). Still, while Flannery O'Connor's endings may be different, her stories' settings were constantly similar. O'Connor continuously used the southern scene with characters that were usually poor, God-driven, and religious(Desmond 98). Religion also plays and extremely large role in Flannery O'Connor's work. Religion was an important factor in each of her short stories. One of O'Connor's short stories that displays each of her writing techniques well is "Greenleaf." This short story does, in fact, take place on a southern ranch and the references to death and to religion are countless. After reading the short story "Greenleaf" it is quite obvious that the author is indeed Flannery O'Connor.Flannery O'Connor also displays a tendency to use a strategy of violence within her work. This violence is used to reveal just how death and destruction brings man away from God. It is used to carry man "away from that center of mystery which she was trying to define and which Catholics term grace"(Muller 87). Grace seems to be very important to O'Connor, thus is placed into the themes and meanings within her stories. Flannery O'Connor tends to relate her characters and stories to man's redemption by Christ. Her literary works show her vision of this relation and the way she sees fit to reveal it is through violence. O'Connor stated herself that "The Catholic writer"¦will feel life from the standpoint of the central Christian mystery, that is has, for all its horror, been found by God to be worth dying for(Quinn 107). In "Greenleaf" this would take place when the bull gores Mrs. May. Since O'Connor accepted the Christian belief that death ends man's existence on earth but not life itself, she used violence and death as a metaphor in her...

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