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Hidden Meaning?? I'm Not Seeing It...

O'Connor, ''The Life You Save May Be Your Own'' -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)
"Maybe the best I can tell you is, I'm a man; but listen lady," he said and paused and made his tone more ominous still, "what is a man?"

I have to say that with every story by Flannery O'Connor that we are assigned, I like her less and less. Her work is so hard to read into; they're interesting and well-written, but so twisted, I don't even know what to think half the time. I find myself feeling confused and perplexed after reading one of her stories, wondering if maybe I missed something? I don't know.
I was just totally blown away by Mr. Shiftlet's actions! I couldn't believe he married Lucynell, even though it was apparent he didn't really want to, and then left her at a restaurant in the middle of nowhere. He was a terrible man! I can't even begin to fathom why he did half the things he did, and I am very confused.

Comments (1)

Remember that Mr. Shiftlet is not a real person. He is a fictional creation of Flannery O'Connor, who is God in the universe of her fiction.

Rather than "Why did that character do that?" you could instead focus on questions like "Why do I respond this way when I read a story about a character that is hard to pin down? Artistically speaking, why would an author want to create feelings of confusion and discomfort in a reader? What does that say about my tastes -- and literary taste in general -- if I dislike stories that don't resolve themselves perfectly and completely?"

I'd be happy to meet with you during my office hours to discuss the next set of readings, Bethany.

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