The Unobtainable Good Things In O’connor’s A Late Encounter With The Enemy

865 words - 3 pages

The Unobtainable Good Things in O’Connor’s A Late Encounter with the Enemy

I have Seen the Enemy and it is Myself . . .

. . . . She wanted the General at her graduation because she wanted to show what she stood for, or, as she said, "what all was behind her," and was not behind them. This them was not anybody in particular. It was just all the upstarts who has turned the world on its head and unsettled the ways of decent living. (134)

These are the thoughts of Sally Poker Sash, as offered by Flannery O'Connor in the second paragraph of her story "A Late Encounter with the Enemy." Sally, a sixty-two year old school teacher, is receiving a college degree that has taken her twenty years to earn. She should be proud of her accomplishment. Of course she should be proud. She proves true the old adages, "its never too late" and "good things come to those who wait." Isn't it possible though, that in some situations, the "good things" come too late and when they do arrive they are not so good? I think O'Connor, through this story, is trying to warn us (the readers) of that possibility.

The first paragraph of "A Late Encounter" is told from the point-of-view of Sally's grandfather, General Tennessee Flintrock Sash. O'Connor makes it very clear to us that the old man doesn't "give two slaps for her graduation." Surely, his attitude is apparent to Sally, too. Sally is aware of his attitude, too. Why, then, is it so important to her that he live to see her graduation? In the above passage, Sally offers three seemingly simple, but in actuality, complicated explanations for her prayer.

Sally states explicitly that she wants her grandfather to attend her graduation because she "wanted to show what she stood for." This is very believable, as people should be proud of their achievements. However, we know Sally resented having to get the degree in the first place and that she did not allow the "education in education" to change her way of teaching. On the contrary, Sally claims that she "taught in the exact way she had been taught not to teach . . ." We get the impression that she is only going to school in order to keep her job or keep up with her peers. Either way, O'Connor does not imply that Sally earned a degree out of a desire to better herself or her students in any way. Obviously it is not improved education, but what does she stand for?

Perhaps...

Find Another Essay On The Unobtainable Good Things in O’Connor’s A Late Encounter with the Enemy

Gawain's Encounter with the Green Knight in the Green Chapel

1539 words - 6 pages to Christian ideals, maintains those ideals when he is subjected to unusual pressures" (Norton 200). The poet effectively uses literary devices such as alliteration, rhyme, irony, metaphor, symbolism, and imagery to reinforce his ideas and themes. This passage of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight deals with Gawain's encounter with the Green Knight in the Green Chapel. The guide describes the Green Knight as a big, cruel, scary monster. He tells

'the truth set me free' good descriptive story with dialogue about a teenager who stays out late, gets drunk, and ends up in a bad accident.

2112 words - 8 pages The Truth Set Me FreeI shook severely. Every nerve in my body tingled, but not a good tingle, not an orgasmic tingle, but a heavy, sandy tingle. It ran deep through my veins, my body stiffened like a drying cement walk way. I felt nauseous; like my insides no longer safely rested in me, but started making there way up my throat. I tried to take a deep breath, but my lips would not open, they felt sewn shut. The only other feeling I had besides

“The Salt of the Earth”: Feminism and New Historicism in Flannery O’Connor’s “Good Country People”

1246 words - 5 pages Feminism and Historicism play a major part in Flannery O’Connor’s short story, “Good Country People”, first published in 1955. The story focuses on the importance of identity and the parallels between truth and deception. In “Good Country People”, the Hopewell family, maintain a small farm in rural Georgia with the help of tenants the Freemans. The pious Mrs. Hopewell’s mottos ‘nothing is perfect’ and ‘it takes all kinds to make the world’ are

Pride Of Intellect Versus Corruptness Of The Heart In Flannery O’Connor’s “Good Country People”

741 words - 3 pages Pride of Intellect Versus Corruptness of the Heart in Flannery O'Connor's "Good Country People" Much of Flannery O'Connor's writing shows how she thinks the heart is dark and complex: a battlefield of mixed emotions such as greed and religious feelings. Her writing connects with violence and shows how cruel and unusual a corrupt heart can be. "Good Country People" has the shattering encounter of pride of intellect (usually irreligion) and the

A good story with a setting in the middle ages. Teachers really like things that are written from the middle ages. Very educational and entertaining.

6963 words - 28 pages minute or two to get up, and we stood there with five minutes left.Chapter Nine: Final BattleOne Minute left. We both screamed as loud as we could, saying all the bad and good things we could in one minute. As the seconds went by, I began to think that the magic could work if I tried.Five..Four..Three..Two.."Mysteria! Go!"One..I didn't see much or hear much, all I can describe about it was a huge light flashing red and green. Red, and green. Over and

Understanding the Enemy: A study of the enemy archetype in literature

1094 words - 4 pages In The Fixer, Bernard Malamud uses the enemy archetype to show how we determine who our enemies are, and how it affects our behavior towards them. Yakov Bok is a simple handyman who grows from an insignificant victim of anti-Semitism, to a martyr for his people. After realizing that his life's misfortunes are the cause of human society, Bok gains the strength to fight for not only his own, but also his people's justice. The enemy

Comparing and Contrasting the Protagonists in Flannery O’Connor’s Good Country People and Hawthorne's The Minister’s Black Veil

1819 words - 7 pages In the Flannery O’Connor’s “Good Country People,” Joy/Hulga Hopewell is the main protagonist. In “The Minister’s Black Veil,” written by Nathaniel Hawthorne the protagonist is Minister Hooper. Both of the main characters represent different views on religion, humanity, and humility. Hulga does not really believe in anything. Her main focus is trying to be smarter than others to compensate for her medical problems. Minister Hooper is a very good

Dendritic cells: fraternizing with the enemy

1227 words - 5 pages the question: Could these decreased quantitative changes be attributed to qualitative and functional changes? To answer this question, authors mixed mDCs with allogenic T cells to test for their antigen presenting properties. mDCs showed a reduced ability to prime CD4 and CD8 T-cell responses in acute HIV-1 infection. HIV-1 has been previously reported to down regulate autophagy which impairs MHC-II restricted HIV-1 antigen presentation.(6

The Child in Flannery O’Connor’s A Temple of the Holy Ghost

896 words - 4 pages herself feels “as if somebody as given her a present” (238). This phrase reappears as a motif later in the story and already in this original context the religious is confronted with the secular. She constantly thinks about being a “good person,” she would even like to have been a saint, “because that included everything you could know” (243) but she thinks that she has too many faults such as being a liar, slothful, sassing her mother and “eaten

Secrets: The story of a lesbian encounter.

934 words - 4 pages Did you see those tears rolling down her pale cheeks? Those eyes filled with anger and torment? She was just standing over the lifeless body with a 9mm gun in her shaking hands. Her laughter echoed around the silent room. It was not a laughter filled with supremacy or happiness, but of uncertainty. But why? Why did she laugh that night?***It's that feeling that you want to go away, but sticks and sticks like glue on paper. You try to pull it off

Irony and Foreshadowing in Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man is Hard to Find

2075 words - 8 pages As I read Flannery O’Connor’s short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, I find myself being completely consumed by the rich tale that the author weaves; a tragic and ironic tale that concisely and precisely utilizes irony and foreshadowing with expert skill. As the story progresses, it is readily apparent that the story will end in a tragic and predictable state due to the devices which O’Connor expertly employs and thusly, I find that I

Similar Essays

Death Of The General In O’connor’s A Late Encounter With The Enemy

610 words - 2 pages Death of the General in O’Connor’s A Late Encounter with the Enemy I did an analysis of the paragraph where the General passes away (page 143 in my edition of The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor) The most obvious thing about this paragraph is that is that the General’s death is portrayed as death during battle. The title “The Late Encounter with the Enemy” is very appropriate because the general views his death as such. The most

The Tragic Consequences Of The European Encounter With The African Civilization In Achebe's "Things Fall Apart"

2517 words - 10 pages prove that things fall apart as well, but it questions the reason behind their falling; is it because of the falcon or rather the falconer?Therefore, Achebe mainly tackles in his Things Fall Apart the tragic consequences of the European Encounter with African civilization, i.e. the social and psychological conflicts between the White European colonizers and the African colonized people, and the consequent disarray of the African psyche.Achebe

Inhumanity In Flannery O’connor’s A Good Man Is Hard To Find And Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

1129 words - 5 pages In Flannery O’Connor’s, “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” and Shirley Jackson's, “The Lottery,” both short stories deal with man’s inhumanity in different situations, and ending with a similar consequence. Jackson and O'Connor both use two characters to depict man having the power to manipulate truth and objection into something people accept. In O’Connor’s’ A Good Man is Hard to Find, the Misfit is a character in need of desired assistance

Sleeping With The Enemy Essay

1343 words - 5 pages Sleeping With the Enemy Summary Oppression of women in our patriarchal society is seen daily. Men dominate women in so many ways it becomes hard to distinguish one form of oppression from another. In the movie Sleeping With the Enemy, a young woman battles daily with an abusive, domineering husband. Although the outside world may view Laura's life as perfect, the viewer sees the whole truth. Laura's perfect life consists of an attractive