Innocence Is Bliss In O'connor's Short Stories

1422 words - 6 pages

There’s is no freedom from the post-lapsarian world. The attributes of this fallen world are very prominent in O’Connor’s short stories. However, she chooses not to include all of her characters into this nutshell. Instead, she gives her female characters innocence and monist ideals. Ironically, O’Connor isolates them from the rest and gives them a pitiful image as she goes on to mock their ways. The obliviousness and innocence of the characters is effortlessly destroyed in the post-lapsarian world because of their lack of foundation.
O’Connor centers her stories on the attributes of the post-lapsarian world, which is the world after the “Forbidden Fruit” was eaten in the Garden of Eden. The fact that these stories were written soon after WWI also obstructed their outcome. The carnage of the war exemplifies the malevolent nature of O’Connor’s characters. For instance, in her story: “The Misfit,” a mass slaughter of an entire family occurs. After killing the last family member, The Misfit tells his assistant: “Take her off and throw her where you threw the others,” (O’Connor 22). The Misfit doesn’t bother looking back at the massacre he had just executed. This is a manner of establishing that such cruel and spiteful actions take place only in the evil of the post-laspsarian world.
Likewise, in “A Circle in the Fire,” three boys take the liberty of allowing themselves to Mrs. Cope’s farm with no intentions of leaving. Not only does Mrs. Cope welcome the boys, she is also very hospitable towards them. Yet, the malicious and ill-mannered actions of these boys force Mrs. Cope feel obliged to them to leave. In response to the insult of being asked to leave, they decide to incinerate her farm. O’Connor creates these characters to show that each and every person born into this fallen world is born with sin.
Yet, not all of the individuals participate in the iniquity of the world. The female characters O’Connor chooses to use are a representation of this innocence. They live independently in domains away from men where they control all aspects of their lives. The impediment of their lifestyle is that men tend have a bigger connection with the world than women. Women are usually busy making their homes while the men go to work and take part in the outside world. This in turn, creates innocence in these women. In “The Life You Save May Be Your Own,” Lucynell, the daughter, is married off to Shiftlet by her own mother. O’Connor states: “His left coat sleeve was folded up to show that there was only half an arm in it… and his figure formed a crooked cross,” (O’Connor 47-48). Shiflet’s grotesque appearance is not only a personification of his future actions, but also a personification of the fallen world that created him. If Lucynell’s hadn’t been in the domain her mother created for the two of them, she would have acknowledged this. However, because she wasn’t, his false charm makes it easy to deceive her into thinking he would...

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