One of the finest American modernist writers, Flannery O’Connor was probably the best known author of Southern Gothic stories. Her works fit the scheme of the Southern Gothic literature, which, unlike the Romantic Gothic literature that utilizes the supernatural, focuses on the sublime and grotesque found in reality. In her stories, the sublime is represented by the spiritual side of life, while the grotesque is symbolized by technique, material progress and disintegration of values; however, in O’Connor’s three stories – “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, “A View of the Woods” and “Revelation” – those two aspects are mixed with each other. The protagonists of “A Good Man is Hard to Find” are a family – a grandmother, parents and children. However, they are not described realistically: their shapes and behaviours are somewhat distorted, causing the effect of almost cartoon-like quality; they are more types than characters.
Their descriptions, especially the description of a mother, are slightly grotesque. The main character is probably the grandmother, the most distinctive figure of the family, who sees herself as the voice of tradition and civility. She is a typical respectable elderly Southern lady type – a genteel belle preoccupied with her looks in a rather morbid way (“In case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on a highway would know at once that she was a lady”).
... is Edgar Allan Poe. The southern gothic genre is characterized by grotesque, gruesome, or unbelievable incidents. The southern gothic genre is portrayed in many ... further and to show different plots of the story. In some southern gothic literature, such as The Secret Life of Bees, ... to be emotionally unstable. However, May is disturbed, and her story is told when these flaws are first acted upon, ...
Her dressing up in case of her death can be seen as foreshadowing of the tragedy which is going to happen – a typical element of the Gothic fiction. However, her appearance does not really matter in the end (as the Misfit states, “Lady, there never was a body that give the undertaker a tip”).
Vain, superficial and incapable of any introspective thought, she is a sort of a comic figure and a personified ironical comment on the Southern culture.
She becomes the catalyst of the proceeding events as she stubbornly refuses to go to Florida (“Here this fellow that calls himself the misfit is a loose from the Federal Pen and headed toward Florida and read here what it says he did to these people”) and insists on visiting her relatives in Tennessee. All her later actions lead the whole family to its doom: she takes her cat with her (the frightened cat is the direct cause of an accident), insists on seeing an old house and forgets that the house was in Tennessee, not in Georgia, stops the Misfit’s car after the family’s accident and – finally – recognizes The Misfit. As the family ride in a car through Georgia, they pass two places which may be read as symbols of their forthcoming fate: a graveyard and a town of Toombsboro (which name resembles the words “tomb” and “bury”).
The symbols foreshadowing the family’s death are generally strongly visible in the story: the grandmother’s dress, the graveyard and Toombsboro mentioned above, as well as the Misfit’s black car which was moving slowly, thus creating a sinister mood. In fact, the family is dead from the very beginning – there is no love, no understanding, no warmth. The members of the family tolerate each other, but nothing more.
The children behave badly and show no respect to the elders. The disintegration of the family is in fact the main topic of the story. O’Connor used the grotesque symbolism and Gothic mood to depict the subject. The old lady’s superficial spirituality also plays an important role; the only deeper insight is forced upon her by The Misfit, who, with all his nihilistic views, seems to be far more spiritualized than her! It is only in the final scene, when death is imminent, that the grandmother is prepared to embrace the true spirituality, looking at The Misfit as at the human being, not as a represent ant of a certain social class. In the last moment of her life, she is able to go beyond her superficial believes; shot by The Misfit, she in a way reaches salvation through the barrel of his gun. As for The Misfit, he is rather amoral than immoral; he is dehumanized and holds no value for human life.
INTRODUCTION Not all children grow from infancy through their adolescent years without experiencing some bumps along the way. While every child is unique and special, sometimes they encounter emotions, feelings or behavior that cause problems in their lives and the lives of those around them. Parents often worry when their teens have difficulty coping with their things, emotions, get involved with ...
As such, he is not really a “misfit”, for he perfectly reflects the modern world with all its amorality and loss of humanity. “A View of the Woods” shows the conflict between material progress and spiritual values. The former is represented by Mr Fortune, the latter – by the Pitts’ family. Mr Fortune, a seventy-nine years old man, strongly believes in progress and perceives everything only in material terms. He is very stubborn, tough and vain.
The only person he loves is his granddaughter, Mary Fortune. He perceives her as his little copy – the small personification of all his values and believes, his miniature alter-ego. However, in the end she appears to be more like her father – a nature-loving traditionalist whom Mr Fortune truly hates – than like her grandfather. Her true nature is revealed when the grandfather sells “the lawn” – the small pasture in front of his house to the man who wants to build a gas station there. “The lawn” is an only place through which the “view of the woods” can be admired. Before it is sold, Mary is very fond of her grandfather.
They go out every morning and watch the bulldozers – a gloomy, grotesque symbol of dehumanized progress. The only thing that bothers Mr Fortune is the fact that his favourite granddaughter obeys her father who beats her regularly. Asked about it, Mary continues to answer that she would never let anybody beat her. After “the lawn” is sold, the grandfather tries to comfort Mary by being her gifts, but she rebels against him. When he finally decides to beat her like her father does, she throws herself at him. Blinded with anger, he kills her during the fight.
The Story of Sweetheart of the Song of Tra Bong: The Use of Setting Where does the story of Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong take place? Upon reading the story, one would first assume that it takes place in Vietnam. Upon further examination, however, it becomes quite evident that it really takes place inside Rat Kiley's head. This isn't to declare the story false; instead, one should examine the ...
He realizes what he has done and dies of a heart attack, taking a final “view of the woods.” In this dark and grotesque final scene, the last thing Mr Fortune sees is not the wood in all its natural beauty, but a bulldozer symbolizing his need for progress. The machine is unable to help him and he dies. The main character of the third story, “Revelation”, is Mrs Turpin who somewhat resembles the grandmother from “A Good Man is Hard to Find” in her shallow spirituality and superficial perception of reality. The reader is able to see that she is not an evil woman, but just a really thoughtless one.
She has a strict hierarchy of people; she constantly evaluates them basing on their race and possessions. She also commits the same sin as the grandmother and Mr Fortune – vanity. In the first scene of the story, in a doctor’s waiting room, she occupies herself with one of her favourite activities – judging people by their appearance. She engages herself in a conversation with a “pleasant woman” who shares her views on having to be nice to “niggers” etc. Among other people in the waiting room, there is an ugly girl, Mary Grace, sitting next to Mrs Turpin and staring at her. At one point, she attacks Mrs Turpin and tries to strangle her, calling her “a wart hog from hell.” This is the turning point of the whole story: the protagonist’s stable believes are shaken.
Shock at first, she starts to be angry with God. Her anger reaches the point when she starts having violent, grotesque visions when her husband drives the Black people in his small truck to the cotton field (“At any moment a bigger truck might smash into it and scatter Claud’s and the niggers’ brains all over the road”).
The story ends with a vision in which Mrs Turpin sees people entering heaven in order completely opposite to the one in which she used to hierarchize everyone. This scene can be read as God’s answer to Mrs Turpin’s questions (it is possible to see some resemblances to the biblical scene in which Job, the righteous man, demands an answer from God and receives it).
As for Mary Grace, she can be compared to an Old Testament prophet with her piercing eyes and her uncompromising message. It can be seen that the grotesque and the gothic were used by Flannery O’Connor to show the decay of values and uncontrolled expansion of technology in the modern world. The vivid imagery used in O’Connor’s stories leaves the reader thinking about the condition of the modern world – especially the American South, which seems to be a very dark and grotesque place itself.
Good Country People: Like Julian in "Everything that Rises Must Converge," Hulga is a proud intellectual and has little doubt of her belief in "nothingness." However, by the end, she has fallen prey to the same naive stereotypes as her mother. Do you think her beliefs are based on reason or on the desire to distinguish herself from the ignorance which is all around her Hulga accentuates her wooden ...