Cash 1Box # 108Sandra CashProfessor BouchardENG 132Paper # 4 Thoughts on Flannery OConnorFebruary 12, 12012 Thoughts on Flannery O’Connor Flannery O’Connor’s short stories seem to have a Christian message. Forexample, in “Good Country People,” the message seems to be about hypocrites. Hermessages hit a nerve and make a person wonder if they are guilty of what she is saying.Although her stories seem to be from a Biblical world view, her story “Everything ThatRises Must Converge,” seems to also be from a new historian lens. In “Good Country People,” the Christian message seems to be about hypocrisy.The character Manley Pointer shows this. When Manley Pointer is first introduced in thestory, he comes off as a good Christian country young man who is trying to make a livingby selling Bibles. An example of this is when Manley says this: “I want to devote my lifeto Christian service.” (O’Connor, p. 177) In the end, Manley is far from being a goodChristian country young man. The reader finds out that he is a con man, who takesadvantage of Hulga. As Manley takes Hulga’s wooden leg, the story says also this:
Cash 2 “…there were only two Bibles in it. He took one of these out and opened the cover of it. It was hollow and contained a pocket flask of whiskey, a pack of cards, and a small blue box with printing on it. He laid these out in front of her one at a time in an evenly spaced row, like one presenting offerings at the shrine of a goddess. He put the blue box in her had. THIS PRODUCT TO BE USED ONLY FOR THE PREVENTION OF DISEASE, she read, and dropped it.” (O’Connor, p. 184)Manley turns out to be a hypocrite, which I think is the message O’Connor is trying toshow. Christians are not supposed to be hypocrites, but sometimes there are “Christians”that do not act how Christians should act. Jesus warns us about hypocrisy in Matthew23:1-9, saying this: “So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not dowhat they do, for they do not practice what they preach… ‘Everything they do is done forpeople to see’…” (BibleGateway.com) In the next story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” some people believe there is amessage about grace (eNotes.com). This would explain when the grandmother says,“Why you’re one of my babies. You’re one of my own children!” (O’Connor, p. 196)Throughout the story, the grandmother is judging everything and everyone. She continuestalking about how back in her day, the kids were respectful and how there are no goodpeople any more. Only at the end, when the Misfit is about to kill her does she realize thatshe is just as guilty as everyone she was judging, including the Misfit who has murderedpeople.
Cash 3 Lastly, in “Everything that Rises Must Converge” the message is about loving oneanother, no matter what their race is. This story has to do with the racial tension betweenAfrican Americans and Caucasians. Julian is very annoyed with his mother’s idea thatAfrican Americans should still be slaves, and judges her for this thought. He judges hismother, even though he is also racist in the sense that he only “tried to strike up anacquaintance on the bus with some of the better types, with ones that looked likeprofessors or ministers or lawyers.” (O’Connor, p. 203) They are both racists toward theAfrican American’s, just in different ways. Julian’s mother does not like the fact that theyare now free and thinks they would be better off if nothing had changed, where Julian isracist in the fact he only tries to make acquaintances with the better types, and he alsouses them to get his mother upset. The Bible says in Luke 10:27 “‘Love your neighbor asyourself.’” (BibleGateway.com) Jesus commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves.Later in Luke 10:29, a man asks, “who is my neighbor?”, and Jesus explains this by theParable of the Good Samaritan. Although these stories are put in the Biblical world view, “Everything That RisesMust Converge,” is also in the new historian lens. In 1965, when Flannery O’Connorwrote this story, there was a lot of tension between African Americans and Caucasians. Inthis year, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. lead 2,600 other blacks in a three-daydemonstration against voter-registration rules (Infoplease). This is just one of the fewconflicts that were going on between African Americans and Caucasians. In this sense,O’Connor adds history, into “Everything That Rises Must Converge.” Flannery O’Connor puts Christian messages into her short stories.O’Connor seems to want to make Christians think if they are guilty of the messages she
Cash 4puts in her stories. For example, in “Everything That Rises Must Converge,” the messageseems to be about that we are to love one another no matter their race. Even though herstores are in a Biblical world view lens, there is also a new historian lens. This is shownin “Everything That Rises Must Converge,” in which she adds the racial tension that isgoing on when she wrote this story.