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Twisted Grace Essay

807 words - 4 pages

The element of grace is not an anomaly among Christian Literature, but Flannery O’Connor presents redemption to her readers in a much darker, atypical way. No angels harking, no characters praising, not even church bells ringing. Considered a Southern Gothic author, O’Connor strategically displays the flaws of Christianity as a whole and Catholicism in particular. However, despite these flaws, both “Good Country People” and “A Good Man is Hard to Find” portray characters in devastating situations of unlikely grace. Dorothy Walters describes O’Connor’s strategy:
Thus, because she perceives grace as the central need of human experience and redemption as the essential aim of life itself, she ...view middle of the document...

This exact moment is the downfall of Hulga’s nihilism and the blooming of a potential blossom of faith.
In contrast, the cantankerous, petty Grandmother of “A Good Man is Hard to Find” does not pride herself in intellect or philosophy, but is satisfied with her own selfishness and vanity. The Misfit is a fugitive spree-killing man strangely struggling with God. O’Connor creates three very different characters all in desperate denial of their need for grace. Sometimes “to arouse the recipients of grace, divinity often resorts to drastic modes of awakening” (Walters 22). In this case, the medium of awakening was the heinous murder of the Grandmother. In her one moment of tenderness towards the Misfit, she sealed both her redemption and her fate. The Misfit, usually pleasured by his killing sprees, is not gleeful like Billy. He seems to understand on a deeper level that the Grandmother could only obtain her moment of grace if the situation was extreme. In this sense, he is an unlikely messenger of God, receiving grace himself unknowingly. This internal battle with faith and its external results is described:
Human action is consistently set against a backdrop of metaphysical considerations. Actions of good or evil played out on the human stage echo the cosmic encounter between the forces of light and darkness. God wars with the devil for the human soul in the ancient clash (Walters...

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