Cosmology and Southern Gothic

analytical Essay
2039 words
2039 words

The question, “How did we get here,” deals with cosmology, the study of the universe. No one knows for sure how the universe works or how we got here, but many Southern Gothic authors, such as Flannery O’Connor and Edgar Allan Poe, use their literature as a way of expressing their beliefs about the clockwork of the universe. These authors use their dark and grotesque fictional stories to make sense of where we, as humans, stand in the universe.

In The Violent Bear it Away, O’Connor uses Francis Tarwater, a miracle who was saved by God, to answer the question, “How did we get here?” Francis Tarwater goes through his life stuck in between two completely opposite universes and is forced to choose which one he wants to be a part of. The purpose of Tarwater’s creation is “plenty frightening, for it presents itself as the kind of mystery that explanation only deepens”(Peters 32). Francis Tarwater was brought into this universe in an interesting way: “he had been born at the scene of a wreck” (O’Connor 41). The fact that God rescued him at the wreck shows that He brings many unexpected miracles into this world. “He had always felt that it set his existence apart from the ordinary one and he had understood from it that the plans of God for him were special” (O’Connor 41). O’Connor uses Francis’ journey of finding the true reason he is in this world, eventually stumbling upon the conclusion that he was brought here by God to be a prophet, to take the reader on a cosmological trek. Starting from the very beginning of the novel, with the birth of young Tarwater, O’Connor shows that the structure of the universe is based on the forces of nature, supernatural events and the gift of grace. She uses the miracle of a young boy’s existe...

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...ah 60.1-2 (2010): 212+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 28 Feb. 2012.

Poe, Edgar Allan, and Stephen Marlowe. "The Fall of the House of Usher." The Fall of the House of Usher: And Other Tales. New York: Penguin Group, 1998. Print.

Timmerman, John H. "House of Mirrors: Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Fall of the House of Usher.'." Papers on Language & Literature 39.3 (Summer 2003): 227-244. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Vol. 111. Detroit: Gale, 2008. Literature Resource Center. Web. 29 Feb. 2012.

Gentry, Marshall Bruce. "The 'Demonic' O'Connor: The Violent Bear It Away and 'The Lame Shall Enter First.'." Flannery O'Connor's Religion of the Grotesque. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1986. 142-159. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Thomas J. Schoenberg and Lawrence J. Trudeau. Vol. 82. Detroit: Gale, 2005. Literature Resource Center. Web. 28 Feb. 2012.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how southern gothic authors like flannery o'connor and edgar allan poe use their literature to express their beliefs about the clockwork of the universe.
  • Analyzes how o'connor uses francis tarwater, a miracle who was saved by god, to answer the question, "how did we get here?"
  • Analyzes how rayber's goal is to make tarwater see the world from his point of view, where he views religion as superstition while science and reason are the only ways to understand the mysteries of life.
  • Analyzes how rayber pulls tarwater into science, but his great uncle forces him in the opposite direction, trying to make him see the world and live out his life for god.
  • Analyzes how flannery o'connor displays the theme of cosmology and explores the big picture of the universe in her southern gothic stories such as, the lame shall enter first.
  • Analyzes how o'connor ends norton's life by examining the universe through a telescope that sheppard bought for rufus. norton hangs himself to be reunited with his dead mother.
  • Analyzes how edgar allan poe expresses his cosmological belief in his short story, the fall of the house of usher.
  • Analyzes how poe's description of the house reveals his philosophy of how the universe is comprised. the house is made up of creepy and disorderly parts.
  • Analyzes how poe's cosmological beliefs are shown when he dispursed himself into all of the people living in the universe. the pairing between roderick and the house is sustained by the careful detailing of descriptions.
  • Analyzes how o'connor and poe use their stories to express their views on cosmology, the study of the universe. they show through gloomy and dark stories and the difficult and violent journeys of their main characters, where humans stand in god's universe
  • States that o'connor, flannery, the violent bear it away, new york: farrar, straus and giroux, 2007.
  • Describes o'connor, flannery, "the lame shall enter first."
  • Analyzes poe, edgar allan, and stephen marlowe's "the fall of the house of usher."
  • Describes timmerman, john h., "house of mirrors: edgar allan poe's 'the fall of the house of
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