Flannery O'connor And Her Southern Gothic Style

1509 words - 6 pages

Flannery O’Connor, known for her original Southern Gothic style of prose has been titled “the master of the short story” (O’Connor). Her application of symbolism and the themes of Southern religion deem her as one of the most influential writers in American history. Born in Savannah, Georgia in 1925 and raised in the South, O’Connor was socialized as a member of the Catholic Church which proves evident throughout her writings. She studied journalism at the University of Iowa, but quickly migrated back to the South where she wrote most of her works: two novels, 32 short stories, and a number of commentaries and reviews. When diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, the same illness that killed her father when she was young, she returned to her family’s farm in Midgeville, Georgia where she later passed away in 1962 at the young age of 39. Her works have received multiple awards, including the National Book Award for Fiction in 1972. One Reason her books translate globally to people of a Christian faith is because although different denominations exist within Christianity, many of the beliefs and traditions transpire from Catholicism into Lutheranism, Methodism, and other churches possessing Catholic roots. In each short story, she carries a message for the reader, messages of life, death, and the transition between. The two stories examined within this research paper are “Good Country People,” and “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” In “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” The grandmother, her son, Bailey, and his young family leave for a family vacation to Florida. As the grandmother convinces the family to take a detour along what she believes to be a familiar route, eventually causing them to meet the Misfit and accomplices. In “Good Country People,” a businessman approaches a woman about purchasing bibles, quickly charms her and stays for dinner. On the following day, he invites her daughter of secular and philosophical nature on a date where he reveals himself as a conman, and teaches her a life-ending lesson about maintaining certainty about faith or else, one will lack direction. O’Connor has skillfully crafted these stories as to impact society in a way that reveals human nature and faith. As stated by Bruce L. Edwards, Professor of English at Bowling Green State University, “She endeavor[s] to confront her readers with the full scandal of Christianity,” the faith, the journey, and the hypocrisy. Flannery O’Connor exhibits the general, conventional morals of the South—morals being those of reverence or grace, tranquility, and respect—within religion in her collection, A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories.
Reverence, a widely-noted attribute of religion, is a form of respect, but it is more specific in nature. Reverence is a profound respect that people embrace in Christianity for their savior. In fact, one unique facet of the Catholic Church is that members initially kneel upon the sight of Jesus as the service commences as an indication...

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