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February 18, 2007

The Sun is a Highlighter

O'Connor, ''The River'' -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

"...the woods opened suddenly onto a pasture...sloping down, teir and tier, to a broad orange stream where the reflection of the sun was set like a diamond" (32-33).

I read all of the stories for Flannery O'Connor over break, and one thing I noticed throughout her stories is that she often uses descriptions of the sun and the way the light hits parts of the earth. In "A Good Man is Hard to Find" there is the part where the grandmother is pointing out the interesting points of the scenery and part of that paragraph describes that "The trees were full of silver-white sunlight and the meanest of them sparkled" (3-4). I have been wondering what the significance of it might be but after reading Matthew's comments on Kayla's Blog and his own http://blogs.setonhill.edu/MatthewHenderson/2007/02/water_water_everywhere.html, I think I might have a good idea formulating.

In "A Good Man is Hard to Find" the sunlight is hitting the trees in a certain way. In "The River" the sunlight is mentioned in relation to the river. As Matthew points out, water is often symbolic of cleaning or rebirth...and obviously that has great significance in "The River" The trees in "A Good Man..." are also very significant because the whole family (except the grandmother0 gets shot after being taking out of sight behind the trees of the forest. So, the fact that the sunlight is mentioned in relation to things of significance in the stories gives us clues to O'Connor's methods of writing. The sun is almost like a highlighter...it shows us what to pay attention to in order to foreshadow what might be coming up next.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at February 18, 2007 1:55 PM

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