Symbolism Anaylsis Parker's Back

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Life is not something simple as we often prefer. There are many different approaches and in most instances we will not find the desired fulfillment in any of them. In the short story “Parkers Back” written by Flannery O’Connor we have a multi-faceted view into the life of the primary character O.E. Parker. In addition we see into the life of Sarah Ruth, Parker’s wife and possibly into the life of author Flannery O’Connor, who died shortly after completing this short story. The characters in this story deal with Tattoos from totally different perspectives and get completely different results. Tattoos are the focal point of the story and prominent on many occasions. Without purpose in life people often make bad decisions which impact the rest of their lives and those they interact with. How often do we pretend to be something or somebody we are not, and have to live with the unpleasant results? Throughout the story Parker is trying to escape reality and as a result becomes entrapped with no hope of escape. He is ashamed of his name and goes by his initials O.E. to prevent people from knowing his real name Obadiah Elihue. He continually shows his inability to accept blame and fully believes his problems are a result of another person’s actions with the first person possibly being the one who gave him his name. He was very rebellious and would not listen or cooperate with anyone. An example of this was his mothers concern over what was becoming of him and her decision to take him to church. “When he saw the big lighted church, he jerked out of her grasp and ran”. It was clear his mother had lost all control of him at this time. At the age of 16 he lies about his age and joins the navy. The story shows his life as a continuous downwa... ... middle of paper ... ...ever married and died alone shortly after writing this story. We come into this world with nothing and leave the same way. Our lives here are short and full of heartbreak if we do not lay hold on the spiritual aspect of life which the characters in this story strived for in their own ways. This world is full of symbolism in much the same way the story depicts it through the tattoos, so much the center point of the entire story. Parker was continually looking for perfection and acceptance with one more tattoo. He wanted the world and Sarah Ruth to focus on the tattoos he regarded as perfect instead of his inferiority. “Each time he grows restless or troubled, he eases the pressure by getting a new tattoo”. Sarah Ruth was driven away because of her desire to be perfect and felt it could only be obtained by staying away from idols, the chief of which was the church.

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