O’connor’s Use Of Dynamic Grace Essay

1056 words - 4 pages

Throughout many of O’Connor’s short stories, a theme of religion and morality can be easily found. O’Connor’s stories explore a notion of struggles between her story’s main characters and their sacrilegious faults; these characters are typically depicted with the fatal-flaw of a superiority complex. This is of course, ironic due to the fact that many of these characters believe themselves to be pious Christians and though this entails that they should not retain a judgmental nature, they do so anyways believing themselves to be superior. Many times, O’Connor will introduce a dynamic character, seemingly out of nowhere, in order to test the moral-fiber of the story’s protagonist, and hopefully enlighten the protagonist with the grace of God—protagonists like the grandma in “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” Mrs. Turpin in “Revelation,” and Mrs. Cope in “A Circle in the Fire.” While the dramatic characters found within O’Connor’s stories, such as “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, “Revelation”, and “A Circle in the Fire,” are all depicted through unique situations and context, all are used as a direct means by which the main character is made aware of one’s conceited persona and becomes a recipient of grace.
In “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” the protagonist, the grandmother, is depicted as a selfish, irksome woman who constantly passes judgment on others. She manipulates her family into doing whatever bids her best, all the while claiming to be a religious woman. In order to test her character, O’Connor introduces the dynamic character “The Misfit” to the story. While the Misfit is a murderer and is in no way a “good man,” he is able to reveal a self-awareness that the grandmother is without. Immediately before the Misfit kills the grandmother, she seems to have an epiphany during which she is able to finally view others with absolute compassion and acceptance. Regardless of the Misfit’s evil deeds she treats him like one of her beloved children and rejoices, “Why you’re one of my babies. You’re one of my own children!” (132 O’Connor) This act of grace is immediately followed by her death and in the end the Misfit remarks as to how it was his encounter with her that brought her to a compassionate mindset. “She would have been a good woman,” The Misfit said, “if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.” (O’Connor 133)
O’Connor’s “A Circle in the Fire” follows a farmer named Mrs. Cope. Though she is a hard-working and careful woman, she, like the grandmother from “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” believes herself to be superior to everyone else because of her material wealth. She ironically carps about being grateful to God, though the means in which she gives thanks is as if she gives thanks to herself rather than a divine being. It is not until she encounters three young boys looking for a place to stay, that she is forced to cope with a situation she is unable to control and is met with a test of her character. Making the assumption...

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