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April 03, 2006


O'Connor, ''A Circle in the Fire'' -- Jerz: American Lit II (EL 267)

“Powell sat without moving, without seeming to know that the other two were behind him, and looked straight ahead like a ghost sprung upright in his coffin. ‘If this place was not here any more,’ he said, ‘you would never have to think of it again.’
‘Listen,’ the big boy said, sitting down quietly in the water with the little one still moored to his shoulders, ‘it don’t belong to nobody.’
‘It’s ours,’ the little boy said” (150).

Using that passage as a start, I suppose one could look at A Circle in the Fire and write a criticism from an economic determinist/Marxist perspective.

Powell, seemingly another neglected child, seems to encapsulate all the good memories from his childhood into the time he spent on Mrs. Cope’s farm, while his dad was a hired hand.

Mrs. Cope owns the property and she doesn’t hesitate to tell people “it’s mine,” asserting her ownership. The boys, apparently from Atlanta, don’t seem to have too much, so there is at least a hint of class struggle here, combined with the fact Mrs. Cope is white and the boys are black.

By trying to set the farm ablaze, there is also a feeling from the boys (Powell especially) that “If I can’t have it, no one can.” So in some form of assertion on his part, Powell decides to burn it down since he knows he’ll never have it himself.

So by exercising that power over the property is he in some what showing he also has ownership?

Posted by MattHampton at April 3, 2006 10:57 AM


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