A Critique Of Flannery O’Connor
Despite dying at such an early age, Flannery O’Connor was able to write several extremely compelling stories that spoke to the reader up front while at the same time weaving her own viewpoints inside the “Southern Gothic (Collegatariat)” settings she created. Whether following a family to their unfortunate death or watching as broken people shatter even further into pieces, her personal religious views mixed with, at times, almost overwhelming grotesque imagery make for an interesting experience. Flannery O’Connor engages the reader by writing a clear story to follow thereby giving her an excellent stance to tell her personal viewpoints to the reader all while offering vivid imagery and grotesque irony to drive home her viewpoints. O’Connor’s writing style being southern gothic displays many aspects that make it easy to follow. For instance, she uses the characteristic of violence and crime in her stories.
In A Good Man is Hard to Find, there is murder by escaped criminals. In Good Country People there is crime such as the bible selling scam artist who stole Hulga’s wooden leg and an eye from a previous person. Flannery was able to incorporate the isolation characteristic with Hulga in Good Country People by making her an unhappy person who always had a bad attitude. For hours Hulga would be by herself in the story. O’Connor writes in a way that is fluent and easy to understand. She does this by being so descriptive of the area in each scene, and as a result you can picture everything that is happening as if you are watching a movie. “The construction of her writing show the five elements of horrific humor, familiar encounters, blindness, violence, and pride imbedded in her works (Hood). ”Growing up in Georgia, Flannery’s works are heavily based in southern culture and values. The two stories based out of the south depicts country folk with a touch of racism in A Good Man is Hard to Find, when the grandmother says, “Oh look at the cute little pickaninny (O’Connor, 472)!”Flannery was a devout catholic who often wrote in a sense to suggest her religious beliefs. She does this within her characters such as the bible salesman in Good Country People, who is all about the lord until the end where he reveals his true colors as a scam artist, or in A Good Man is Hard to Find where the grandmother speaks to the misfit only about how the lord can help him and forgive him now. O’Connor’s ability to use the vivid imagery in her stories derives from her detailed explanation of what is happening. Her plot twist in the stories keeps you hooked in and reading. To create such vivid imagery, O’Connor was able used Figurative language on several occasions. In A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor, she narrates, “There were two more pistol reports and the grandmother raised her head like a parched old turkey hen crying for water and called, “Bailey Boy, Bailey Boy!” as if her heart would break (O’Connor, 480). The use of figurative language paints a picture for the reader and helps imagine exactly what the character is wearing and paints a picture of just how big the valise is. Creating this type of imagery take detailed explanation of what is going on, and what is happening around the scene. In Good Country People by Flannery O’Connor she narrates a scene that describes just that, “Hulga had cracked her two eggs into a saucer and was bringing them to the table along with a cup of coffee that she had filled too full (O’Connor, 489). ”
O’Connor is able to portray the scene down to the smallest details of a coffee cup being to full, and as a result it is easy to imagine how slow one would walk carrying a coffee cup that is to full especially with one wooden leg. In A Good Man is Hard to Find, O’Connor uses grotesque irony to depict what is going to happen when a family takes a vacation. They end up running in to the criminals the grandmother spoke about in the beginning when she was trying to persuade her son to go elsewhere. In Good Country People by Flannery O’Connor, she depicted the good and bad in people using the ironic situation of a Bible selling scam artist to drive a deeper meaning that good is determined differently by all people. Flannery O’Connor is able to drive her deeper meaning by using vivid imagery to narrate the grotesque characters who perform gruesome acts of violence. As an author, Flannery O’Connor wrote of grotesque characters of which violent or criminal acts would occur; usually finding in the end that the characters became closer to the catholic religion yearning for their redemption. In A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor, the grandmother eventually comes to the realization that the misfits are humans as she is and tells them to pray to be forgiven. This is the redemption the grandmother tries to force on the misfit to save herself, say things like “If you would pray,” the old lady said, “Jesus would help you (O’Connor, 479). ”
In Good Country People there is a scene where manly and Hulga are going into the loft of the barn and manly says “You never can tell (O’Connor, 492),” which was a response to Hulga who observed they wouldn’t need the bible. This depicts the well-known Christian saying that God is always with you, but unknown to Hulga that the bibles were not needed, that it was what’s inside the hollowed-out bibles that Manley may need along with a case to take her wooden leg out in. Flannery O’Connor was an author who took her religion and subtlety introduced it into her writings to get her deeper meaning to the audience. Her use of irony and ability to share the vivid imagery was fluent enough as if you were in her writings. Being from the South she was able to put the settings of her stories right from her home state. She, as an author was one of many that is able to convey her own viewpoints within the gruesome stories she wrote, while still offering captivating stories that demonstrated intense representation.
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