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    The Style of Flannery O’Connor Essay

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    Flannery O’Connor’s “Everything That Rises Must Converge” is written during her final phase of life. This short story relates the inner most feelings of Julian, the protagonist, to the world. O’Connor has the mastery over style of narrating which fundamentally includes ironical situations, objectivity of expressions, as well as phrasal intensity to show how emotions can be shown through words. Five elements of style that she exemplifies are horrific humor, familiar encounters, blindness, violence, and pride.

    O’Connor’s odd sense of horrific humor appears throughout her works, often between her character’s disparities of beliefs and the fate awaiting them. In “Everything That Rises Must Converge”, Julian finds it amusing to show his mother a lesson. During this lesson, his mother has a stroke, in which at first he is unmindful of, being upset at her ignorance. Once he has realized that she has had a stroke, he becomes overwhelmed with sadness and guilt of his self-deception. In O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, when the cat escapes from the valise and the family gets into a car accident, throwing everyone from their seats. The children joyfully scream, “We’ve had an ACCIDENT” and in disappointment, June Starr said, “But nobody’s killed” (454). Another example in “Good Country People”, Joy-Hulga, who thinks she is superior to her family, has an unexpected connection with Manly, the Bible salesman. Developing a trusted connection she gives him her wooden leg, which he then steals, leaving her in a barn alone and ashamed.

    Familiar encounters are found in O’Connor’s works, in which her characters are reminded of someone they know, but at first, can’t recall. Julian has a familiar encounter with the African American woman gets on the bus. “There was something familiar-looking about her but Julian could not place what it was.” He had then come to realize that she had on the same hideous hat as his mother and the same attitude. Another example, “His gaze seemed somehow familiar but she could not think where she had been regarded with it before” (468). Manley’s familiar gaze reminds Joy-Hulga of Mrs. Freeman’s “beady steel-pointed eyes”. Again, Mrs. Turpin’s familiar encounter occurs she looks into Mary Grace’s eyes, “There was no doubt in her mind that the girl did know her, knew her in some intense and personal way, beyond time and place and condition” (482).

    O’Connor’s writing exposes the blindness of her characters by their sinful nature and what they believe in. They are oblivious to reality in the modern world. Julian’s mother reminisces about the wealth of her family and how her great-grandfather was a former governor and had two hundred slaves. Still believing in racial segregation, Julian reminds her that there aren’t any more slaves. Julian’s mother is blind and ignorant to the fact that things are not the same as when she was growing up. Also, the grandmother is spiritually blinded from the truth, when she recognizes The Misfit as a good man that came from nice people; she makes herself believe otherwise. “Listen you shouldn’t call yourself The Misfit because I know you’re a good man at heart. I can just look at you and tell” (455). Another example of this is when Joy-Hulga is blinded by her philosophical knowledge, believing that she can see the world for what it is without belief in religion. She then falls for the Bible salesman, failing to see that he is not “good country people” until he steals her wooden leg.

    O’Connor captures her character’s attention by utilizing violence and bringing them to reality. When Julian’s mother chases after the little boy to give him a “bright new penny”, she is struck by the African American woman’s fist. Julian then said to his mother, “I hope this teaches you a lesson. O’Connor’s sense of violence also appears when The Misfit commits an act of violence. The grandmother seems to find her inner faith, when she hears the sound of a scream and a gunshot from the woods. She becomes humble realizing that she is no better than The Misfit, and he is not “a good man.” Another example of this element is when Mary Grace throws a book at Mrs. Turpin while she is having a conversation. Mrs. Turpin then realized that this was a message to her arrogance against others.

    O’Connor creates her characters with a sense of pride, where they are too good to realize that they have made mistakes or are wrong. Julian is characterized as a saint, and his pride leads him to feel guilty when his mother has a stroke. “… his hands behind him, appeared pinned to the door frame, waiting like Saint Sebastian for the arrows to begin piercing him.” Also, because of the grandmother’s pride she will not admit that she has made a mistake, when she selfishly wishes to see her old house. “It’s not much farther,” the grandmother said and just as she said it, a horrible thought came to her. The thought was so embarrassing that she turned red in the face…” (453). Again, having pride, Mrs. Turpin thinks that she is kind to her African American helpers, but at the same time considering the classes of people, she puts the African American people “on the bottom of the heap” (476), along with the white-trash.

    In conclusion, O’Connor’s writing style is noticed by her unique way of writing; she is a writer that stands out. The construction of her writing show the five elements of horrific humor, familiar encounters, blindness, violence, and pride imbedded in her works. In the four short stories mentioned the five elements of O’Connor’s writing style make her stories interesting, each having a meaning behind it. With this said she has mastered the style of narrating.

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    The Style of Flannery O’Connor Essay. (2017, Dec 03). Retrieved from

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