The literary work of Flannery O’Connor

Subject: 📚 Literature
Type: Expository Essay
Pages: 7
Word count: 1867
Topics: Gothic Literature, Art History, Symbolism, 📗 Book
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Discuss the effects of regionalism-specifically that of SOUTH –in O’Connor’s work

Regionalism is a term with broader connotation, which flourished in the late 19th century. It began in 1930 and recognizes differences in particular areas in the country. In addition, it relates to the intellectual movement, which encompassed regional consciousness. Regionalism had effects on the writings of Flannery O’Connor’s as a southern writer. One of the impacts of regionalism in her work is authentic. Her stories are filled with creative energy where she is clear about her theme and plot. Since O’Connor is from the south, there is a family thing among the writers where the reader can intimately read from anywhere and relate to what is being said. Her work is always from the culture. The southern people faced racism and from her work characters feels that they are estranged from their emotional life. This is what was happening to most of the people. With this in mind, regionalism brings out authenticity in her work.

With regionalism, she was able to have vivid characters which scholars call them grotesques. These characters are often violent, deformed or bigoted archived in truth and empathy. In the story, A Good Man Is Hard to Find, life in the southern America is widely illustrated with characters action depicting what was happening. Being in the region assisted her in coming up with vivid characters since she would observe the happening in the region. In fact being from southern gothic, she made her characters loud and clear.

Another effect of regionalism is that southern writers have a unique bond in the oral tradition of storytelling and how they construct their sentences with creative outpouring. There is the lot of dialogue where they endowed their characters with speech without being didactic. Looking at A Good Man Is Hard to Find, Misfit is describing the grandmother he killed saying, “She would have been a good woman if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life” (O’Connor 140). This sentence is somehow perfect but has grammatical errors .colorful phrases like these brighten the dark themes of her stories and makes it joyful.

Regionalism influences writing that contains lots of violence. Most of O’Connor writing contains some violence or murder. The fact that she came from the southern region where lives of people in that area influenced the imaginative nature of the reader. History of the area revolves round in all her stories.

What constitutes ‘‘Southern Writing’ ‘How do your author’s specific stories fall under the umbrella term of ‘‘Southern Writing”

Southern writings have stories which focus on grotesque themes. These writing could include supernatural elements which focus on characters, damages, and even delusion. Motivated by the early gothic writing, southern writing was a trendy genre in the 18th century in England. The authors sought to expose problems that faced the society. They wrote fiction while including romantic and supernatural essentials. These stories were often in darkness, madness, death and very haunting. The genre is characterized by dark humor which exposes the problems of the community via development of complex characters.

Authors explore the people’s behavior which could be strange while revealing the social order of south. The stories illustrate how the social order was fragile having disturbing realities. Southern writing is set in the south. They take place where there is struggle to find a place in the society. The plot on southern writing is disturbing and contains ironic event as a form of writing style. Most of the stories are associated with poverty, violence broken towns which are around slave quarters or plantations. Some of the element includes personalizes, habits and dialect. Southern history is represented in the stories settings. To understand these stories; most of the characters are comic and unstable mentally. They have broken spirit and racism. Additionally, the stories are often grotesque involving loneliness and death.

Flannery O’Connor is well-known as writers of the genre. Most of her stories fall under the umbrella of southern writing. The stories expose contradiction of southern society also characters and grotesque. These characters are morally flawed where hints of racism in the south are seen throughout. The stories contain supernatural elements of faith and God (Harris 1-2). The aspect of Grotesque fiction in O’Connor’s work reveals something disturbing in and extraordinary which distorts the ordinary. The work depicts characters flawed in different ways. Indeed, O’Connor demonstrates the weaknesses and flaws of Grandma (hypocrite) and The Misfit (serial killer) that lived in the Christ-haunted South to depict the need for redemption to Godly ways (Harris 4). In every story that O’Connell writes, there are features of characters riddled with problems which in return comes back and haunts them. Such types of stories are disturbing which indeed grotesque read was.

Another reason why her writing falls under the southern genre is fiction which increases the character naming. In the names, a character’s identity is contained in the name which is mostly a nickname where the connotation reflects their nature. For example Joy/Hulga in the story‘ good country people’ and harry/bevel in the story ‘the river.’ The change of name increases the grotesqueness and absurdity in the story. The reason why a Joy change her name to Hulga is that she has the feeling it will accurately reflect her unattractiveness prosthetic leg and personality. The reader will only read the name Hulga instead of Joy, which only changes the tone of the story. In a story, the name is very crucial since it can accurately accentuate the importance and role of characters in literature. The story of ‘A Good Man Is Hard to find’, character such as ‘Misfit’ has the understatement of his naming when viewed in the contexts of his murderous adventures. There is a discrepancy between the characters action and name which is more grotesque. The way O’Connor cleverly utilizes the names of character creates an intellectual struggle between the devils and God. The physical battle of Harry/Bevel’s in “The River.” When drowning, Mr. Paradise tries to save Harry/Bevel from drowning after returning to the rivers to find salvation but only finds death since his unable to reach him .Mr. Paradise name conjures images of heaven where he should have found salvation. O’Connor contradicts names of characters and connotation with their personality and actions which creates disturbing realities and an off-kilter balance.

Most of O’Connor’s writings have themes of religion. For example, in ‘‘A Good Man is Hard to Find.” The grandmother insists that Misfit comes from good people and that Misfit should pray to Jesus. That statement is disastrous because Misfit and his followers kill each of her family members and at last her. Virtues, morals, and sin are found in the religion where it can be vengeful or merciful. O’Connor’s character tries to find hope in religion but only disappoints them.

The argument for on Does being a ‘‘Southern Writer” really impact the creation of your author’s stories?

Yes being a southern writer had an impact on how she created her stories. In her stories, she had the ability of storytelling. Being from the south, O’Connor had to focus on the southern people and their original Christianity. She was able to blend both when she wrote of the people she encountered such as the local preacher. Apparently, each of her stories has recreated the reality in southern life, but also made the characters to freak. Being a southern writer, O’Connor established Christian doctrine was entrenched in the south and thus used its belief to come up with grotesque characters, which would influence the audience. For example, the short story ‘‘A Good Man is hard to find’’ the road trip of the family through the south goes wrong due to the old grandmother who could not stop talking while in the back seat. This story is one of the famous as written by O’Connor’s. Inside the story, one finds profound questions regarding the value of southern people. Additionally, there is commentary about the social issues such as crime and poverty and punishment and moreover the disturbing violence. This means that being from the south had an impact on her stories.

Another story that impacts on her writing as a southern writer is a ‘‘Wise Blood.’’ This novel tells about Hazel Motes that was a veteran returning from World War II to his home. This character is shocked and has a lot of question on sin and religion, especially on blasphemy (Pinkerton 449). While moving through the decaying southern landscape, he makes a reflection of his nature regarding his internal disintegration. This is an excellent example of how southern writers use settings and landscape in their work to increase the feeling that something is wrong in the south. This shows that being a southern writer had an impact on how he created her stories.

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Flannery O’Connor has deep religious convictions that she came across being typical interconnected with southern attributes and settings. Being from the south, O’Connor felt that urban and city way of life was clashing with the regions distinctiveness and traditional rural values.

O’Connor has a sharp ear for the sounds of her native land and eye for what was going around. There is no doubt that on how she captures all aspect of southerners in her stories in the way her characters talk, the pronunciation, grammar, idiom, diction highlights her mastery in using the regional dialect. Phrases such as “Hep that lady up, Hirum’ from “A Good Man Is Hard to Find’ illustrate that being from south played a great role in her stories (O’Connor 1)

In conclusion, regionalism has to considerable influences the southern writing. Southern literature could vary depending on the historical. There are themes such primary Christianity, religion along with other themes of racial tension and slavery in the old southern writings. The people of the south have the ability in storytelling. Each writer works via the exploration of places, and specific characters sought to answers to the questions regarding life and death which concerned women and men. It can be concluded that the southern writers found roots in the region. O’Connor writings have the great sense of humor and have managed the literature body so well. An instance of humor in her stories creates a moment of self-reflection where readers can look at themselves and question what made some phrases to be funny. It is at that moment they discover the source of horror, ugliness, and violence. Regionalism has influence on how O’Connor’s writes her short stories emphasizing difficult situations, violent, outsiders and grotesque characters as a style witnessed among the Southern settings.

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  1. Harris, Abbie C. “Jesus Thrown Everything Off Balance”: Grace and Redemption in Flannery O’Connor’s” A Good Man are Hard to Find.” Papers & Publications: Interdisciplinary Journal of Undergraduate Research, vol. 3, no. 1, 2014, pp.1-7.
  2. O’Connor, Flannery. “A Good Man Is Hard to Find. The University of Virginia.
  3. O’Connor, Flannery. A Good Man Is Hard to Find. Rutgers University Press, 1955.
  4. O’Connor, Flannery. Wise Blood. Faber & Faber, 2015.
  5. Pinkerton, Steve. “Profaning the American Religion: Flanery O’Connor’s Wise Blood.” Studies in the Novel, vol. 43, no. 4, 2011, pp. 449-469.
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