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Everything's a Blur

She (Mrs. Shortley) said the Pole had been sent by the devil and the priest. Mr. Shortley had no doubt that the priest had got some peculiar control over Mrs. McIntyre and that before long she would start attending his Masses. She looked as if something was wearing her down from the inside.

O'Connor, "The Displaced Person" -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

I thought that the Misfit and Mr. Shiftly were blurred visions of good and evil. Of all of the stories we've read by Flannery O'Connor, "The Dislplaced Person" is by far the best example of this. The Pole, as Mr. Guizac is often referred to, doesn't ever really do anything wrong. He is merely perceived by the characters as being the enemy. Until his accident, Mrs. McIntyre and Mr. Shortley constantly want to try and get him to leave (in the part 3, at least). Even all of the other workers want this as well. Another blurred character, in terms of good and evil, is the priest, ironically enough. He is often paired with references to the devil. As stated in the above quote, it is perceived that he has some sort of control over Mrs. McIntyre. The very end almost seems to support this. There really isn't anything definite that these two characters do that define them as being bad, they simply come across that way--but you never really know for sure; you can only guess.

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Comments (3)

Margaret Jones:

I have to say that I too questioned the priest throughout this whole story as well. I wanted to believe that he was a "good" character, but I did think he controlled Mrs. McIntyer too much to seem "good."

As a Catholic living in the deep South, O'Connor would have been familiar with the suspicion that some Protestants have for the Catholic faith. I'd be very interested in hearing what others thought about the final scene (which O'Connor chose as the final scene in her whole book).

Ellen Einsporn:

I can agree that O'Connor again blurs the boundaries between good and evil; however, I saw this more in the characters of Mrs. and Mr. Shortly and Mrs. McIntyre. I thought that the Polish "Displaced Person" and the Catholic priest were the characters who were truly good. While the Shortley's and, eventually, Mrs. McIntyre view the Guizac's coming as an upset to their precious societal balance, both the Guizacs and the priest see past this societal system based on ignorance and prejudice and view people simply as people, no matter if they are white, black, native, or foreign.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 2, 2007 2:47 PM.

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