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Revelation, By Flannery O'connor Essay

1875 words - 8 pages

In Flannery O’Connor’s “Revelation” a woman, as the title implies, who experiences a revelation. Pigs are an important symbol in the protagonist’s, Ruby Turpin’s, revelation. Throughout Ruby’s journey to her revelation, pigs appear frequently in “Revelation” and are important to Ruby’s revelation at the end of the story. Pigs reflect several aspects of Ruby’s life, primarily her perceptions. Ultimately, pigs reflect Ruby’s true character throughout the entire story.
Early in the story, when Ruby is talking to the people in the waiting room, Ruby describes that she has “a little bit of everything” (O’Connor 475). Ruby mentions she has hogs and the “white-trash” woman remarks that pigs are “nasty stinking things” always “a-gruntin and a-rootin all over the place” (476). Ruby replies, “Our hogs are not dirty and they don’t stink” (476). Ruby’s comment has inherent emphasis on “our” and “not” (476). Ruby emphasizes that her hogs are not dirty. She implies that she does not have dirty hogs. Hogs, by nature, are dirty animals. Ruby denies the true nature of hogs, which implies a lot about her character. Ruby establishes a connection between herself and not dirty through her emphasis on “our” and “not.” The emphasis on these two words has two implications. Either, Ruby implies that since the hogs belong to here they are therefore clean. Or, Ruby herself is a clean person, not a hygienic clean, but a spiritual clean. Through this statement, Ruby negates the association between herself and unclean by overemphasizing the cleanliness of her hogs. Ruby negates that she is an unclean person by emphasizing that her hogs are not dirty.
After Ruby defends the cleanliness of her hogs, she continues her assertion: “We have a pig parlor—that’s where you raise them on concrete…and Claud scoots them down with a hose every afternoon and washes off the floor” (476). Ruby asserts that her pigs are not dirty, yet “Claud scoots them down every afternoon” (476). The word “scoot,” when applied to southern dialect means to wash or bathe. Claud washes the both the hogs and their “parlor” every afternoon (476). Claud’s washing the hogs every day implies that they are dirty and therefore needs washing off. Here, Ruby could also be overemphasizing the cleanliness of her hogs again. She already stated that her hogs were clean and she adds that the hogs and their “parlor” are washed every day, regardless whether the need to be or not. This constant reassuring resembles Ruby’s character a lot because she also “scoots” herself down every night. At night, Ruby either occupies herself either by questioning “who she would have chosen to be if she couldn’t have been herself” or by “naming the classes of people” (474). Ruby located blacks at the very bottom, then white-trash just above them, then home owners, then home and land owners which Ruby and Claud belong to. Above Ruby and Claud are people with bigger houses and more money. As she thinks more about the matter of social...

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