March 29, 2006

A Late Encounter with the Enemy

"She came in her academic gown to the hotel and dressed the old man in his uniform. He was as frail as a dried spider. 'Aren't you just thrilled, Papa?' she asked. 'I'm just thrilled to death!'" (O Connor 161).

This is necessary as reality can be enough to push the mind to create a false world that we all live in together. Throughout the lives of “General” George Sash and his granddaughter Sally it is obvious from the beginning that neither of these two characters has a firm grip on what reality is. The changes Sally is having to deal with are the slow death of her grandfather and the fact that she is sixty-two and just graduating from college. She is really trying to grasp the life that she once had at the age of sixteen, and she is having a lot of difficulty with that. She seems to want her grandfather to be there, so that someone will be proud of her, and recognize her accomplishments. Sometimes things don't exactly work about the way you want Sally. That's realism according to Flannery O' Connor.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 4:24 PM | Comments (0)

A Circle in the Fire

Mrs. Cope was bent over, diffing fiercely at the nut grass again. "We have a lot to be thankful for," she said. "Everyday you should say a prayer of thanksgiving. (O Connor 130).

I am a little skeptical to believe that Mrs. Cope is actually a genuinely optimistic person. She's witty, she's thankful for everything that she has, and she possesses a positive vibe that absolutely drives Mrs. Pritchard up a wall. After a while, we see that Mrs. Cope becomes more full of herself, because she knows that she is a good person, and lets everyone else know about it. She comes off as such a happy and strong individual, but there is something that comes off that makes me believe that she is very arrogant underneath it all. She seems to have a shorter temper, but overall she seems to be the most thankful person of all the characters in all of the stories.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 4:16 PM | Comments (0)

The Artificial Nigger

"'The day is going to come," Mr. Head prophesied, "when you'll find you ain't as smart as you think you are." (O Connor 100).

It seems like Mr. Head is full of himself and no one else, very selfless and selfish. He is a careless individual who shouldn't not be in charge of another life. He is a very realistic character, and he surely is a character that fit the description in the 1940's and 1950's. He's an arrogant man, who has no real respect for anyone else. Although many were offended with the term "Nigger," as they should be, they need to understand that is was normal to call anyone "niggers" in front of anyone, no matter what the age. It's such a shame to read in this society, but think about how blacks were treated 50 years before O'Connor's time period. I don't think that Mr. Head is capable to being a good person, and I think that the boy catches on to this after they get lost. I wouldn't have been surprised if Mr. Head just completely left Nelson by himself, even though he kind of did. It wasn't as bad as let's say Mr. Shiftlet abandoning Lucynell, but he is still an awful individual.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 3:46 PM | Comments (0)

March 23, 2006

Temple One and Temple Two

"'...Somebody said they were both going to be Church of God preachers because you don't have to know nothing to be one.'" (O Connor 84).

At first, I truly believed that O' Connor wrote more as a Southerner, rather than a religious one. Now I am not so sure. I'm picking up sarcasm from O' Connor about her characters personas and ideas, which seem to go against her. She seems to be bashing religion, which is really odd to me. For someone who has been expressing religious morals throughout all of her tales, she finally heads back in a different direction. Whenever the girls laugh because they are supposedly "Temples of the Holy Ghost," it makes one wonder why they would express themselves in such a manner. I know that they're only teenagers, but you would think that the idea would be taken very seriously, especially with their mother around. Maybe I'm missing the point on this one, so if I am, then help me out.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 10:13 AM | Comments (1)

March 20, 2006

A Stroke of Good Fortune

"It was a boil. A nigger woman up the road told me what to do and I did it and it went away." (O Connor 75).

"Standing up straight, she was a short woman, shaped nearly like a funeral urn. She had mulberry-colored hair stacked in sausage rolls around her head..." (O Connor 63).

There are a few things that I would like to discuss. First, I would like to note that while many people are offended with the use of language provided by Flannery O' Connor, one must understand that this was written in the late 1940's and language like that was absolutely normal. While it is good for someone to be offended in this time period, one must still understand that calling someone "The N word" was nothing out of the ordinary. It was the same way with Huckleberry Finn. Jim, a slave in the deep south, was referred to as "a nigger" multiple times. I understand the offensive nature behind this, but I also understand that it was less offensive in that time period.

Now that THAT's taken care of, I would like to discuss the character's profiles in each of the stories. Flannery O' Connor seems to be following a theme that displays imperfect characters in each of her stories. Maybe she is doing that to teach us yet another lesson, that we are all imperfect in different ways, but we can still achieve accomplishments to still be good people. Listening to the description of Ruby's brother Rufus (who didn't even get a chance to defend himself), I realize how rude Ruby really is in her own nature. Maybe Rufus is a good for nothing slacker, but we only learn that from Ruby and Bill Hill, who seem to think that they are better than everyone else that they encounter. Everyone but Rufus says somethings that make themselves seem more important than the next person. I do believe that O' Connor is trying to teach the reader a lesson, even if the characters aren't paying attention.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 9:10 PM | Comments (2)

March 15, 2006

Concept of Central Idea

The central idea of a story for me usually should be placed in the beginning, then should be supported. I know that there are ideas that discuss building up to the main idea in Roberts, but I still personally believe that the most important idea should be discussed first and foremost. Then, supporting ideas, and textual evidence should be provided later to back up the main claim, or central idea. While some may think that building up all the way to the 5th or 6th paragraph is effective, I personally disagree when it comes to an essay. The only way I find that to be effective is if I am writing a piece of fiction. Building up to the main idea is really important there. But not with an essay.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 11:55 PM | Comments (2)

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

"'My old woman is a flea bag and yours is a stinking pole cat!' and with that he flung the door open and jumped out with his suitcase into the ditch." (O Connor 62).

It's amazing how much in one direction Flannery O' Connor will go to really drive a point home. She uses reverse psychology to make the reader learn a lesson, and the way the people deserve to be treated. Mr. Shiftlet is really a respectable character, and it left me somewhat confused to understand why the hitch-hiker he picked up would behave in such a devious manner. He is really just one ungrateful, depressed individual. What impressed me more than anything else, was how Mr. Shiftlet reacted to the entire situation. He just kept driving on, wondering what would make someone act in such a manner, and prayed to keep himself at bay, and just still be the positive individual that he was in the beginning of the story. It really makes you consider how patient and positive we can be, and I truly think that's what Flannery O Connor was trying to teach the reader.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 11:34 PM | Comments (2)

March 14, 2006

The River

"She stood looking down at him as if he had become a marvel to her. 'I'll have to see you meet him today' she said. He's no ordinary preacher, he's a healer." (O Connor 26).

First of all, I really like that religion has become the major focus of this play. It is evident that the South in this time period has a primary focus on God and nothing else, and the standards of men are much higher compared to the men in The Great Gatsby. I'm personally glad we are finally doing a story that focuses on religion, because we haven't done anything like this since The Scarlet Letter. There are more references to Jesus, as if the men need to follow His standard. Flannery O' Connor is actually a very comical author. It is hard to catch the sarcasm behind how bad her characters really are, but that element of characterization really makes her a brilliant writer. She really knows what she's doing, and the dialogue is really sarcastic and comical.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 12:27 AM | Comments (2)

"A Good Man is Hard to Find"

"Jesus was the only One that ever raised the dead...and He shouldn't have done it. He thown everything off balance. If He did what He said, then it's nothing for you to do but thow away everything and follow Him..." (O Connor 21).

The classic idea of good versus evil has been an issue of debate since the beginning of mankind. A Good Man Is Hard to Find is a story that deals directly with that age-old conflict. Flannery O’Connor uses the phrase “a good man is hard to find” to help define her view of the decline of goodness in the old southern culture. She also uses this phrase to open up the debate to include Christianity and religions over all effect on the subject, as well as to probe into and question what really defines someone as being “a good man”. Goodness and religion are two ideals that are all too often mixed up with one another. Its is not always the case that piety and manors equates directly into goodness.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 12:20 AM | Comments (1)