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Flannery O'Connor once said “All my stories are about the action of grace on a character who is not very willing to support it, but most people think of these stories as hard, hopeless and brutal.” But to many readers this may sound very ironic. This perspective may be easily picked up by readers seeing how she is very unsympathic towards the characters; she made all her characters who eventually are led to their own down fall very proud people; but yet places them in a very physiologically vulnerable position and claiming that they are ungrateful for the grace around them. Her stories also surrounds strongly around a shredding of falsehood in a form of accepting, and embracing defeat, or humility; but she also gives no chance of a redemption for the by ending most of the stories with the characters cornered into a state of complete breakdown. The stories also contain a many heavily enforced Christian ideology and morals, and with the brutality she enforces these moralise it no surprise that reader may see her as a twisted and aggressive bible basher.
Her unsympathic attitude towards the characters in her stories could be seen in the way she structured that characters, situation, and the environment they’re in. She often structures the character to be very proud, and the pride of these people would not allow them to admit defeat or loss to the situation; but would instead continue to infest itself in the characters’ minds making putting them in to a false reality that they are somehow more superior then people surrounding them, by certain attributes such as their social class, race, knowledge, or heritage. Example of character like these would be Julian and his mother in her story “Everything Rises Must Converge” Julian mother was finds pride in what her grandfather was; and she finds herself to be fragile in the present state of the world for what it had changed into; but was unwilling to show her weakness to people around her. As for Julian his problem was that he was a failure to a certain extent, considering that he was a grown man still living off his mother; but yet he feels the need to not be overpower by his mother, but was unable to do so in any other but to do so by judging her judgement and, behaviour towards the African Americans.
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O’Conner’s writings are also often usual amount of raw violence, and brutality, just to get a point to the readers. The most obvious example of her usage of brutality is shown in her story “A View of the Woods”. A story about the relationship between a grandfather and his granddaughter Mary Fortune, though the start of the story seemed fairly clam; but like other short stories of this collection a tension was created and roses to a point of breakdown. In this story the grandfather thought himself to be a kind of a visionary who could bring improvement and change to the local area, and like other in the story he is overly excessively vain, but he fears that he may have no successor to continue his vision. So when he saved Mary from her father he started to invest great amount of himself in to her, moulding her in his image of himself, and in doing so his vanity has also manifested in her, which might be one of the reasons why she wouldn’t admit her father beating her. This also led to the final outbreak when Marry felt the need to defend her family name just the grandfather often defended his, and retaliated against her grandfather’s attacks, which lead to both their deaths, and O’Conner described this scene with great amount of disturbing imageries.
O’Conner story that is most well established for the theme of the shredding of falsehood and embracing defeat would be “The Enduring Chill”, O’Conner also gets quite personal and emotional in this story; seeing that she writing about a young writer who think he is going to die soon. This story like others is about the pride of the characters, the central character Asbury fancies himself as a writer, but he was failing most of the thing he was doing at New York, but hadn’t the face to come home a frailer; so he subconsciously made himself sick as well as into believing he’s going to die soon and degrades everything around him at home to make him feel that people around him is going to remember him as someone who had great potential, but was never able to put it into use. But his false reality was shredded by Doctor Block- who is often belittled by Asbury- when he diagnosed that Asbury was going to be fine; and because of this Asbury finally embraced the truth that he wasn’t going to die young he just wanted to; and gave up his will to live. In this story O’Conner may have placed quite bit of herself into it; it’s almost as if she is using it to ease herself to her own sickness and death.
So there for in conclusion O’Conner may have intended for the story to be about grace that had been acted upon those who are unwilling to support it, but the problem with her stories is that she forgets to take the consideration of fatalism, that ultimately in the end its she who is controlling the fate of the characters; and it also she who purposely uses brutality of the stories to get the messages across; as well as using it a sort of compensation for her death which she at that stage of her illness she believe so to be soon.