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In all of Flannery O'Connor's short stories, the theme of alienation is portrayed at different levels.

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Introduction

Alienation In all of Flannery O'Connor's short stories, the theme of alienation is portrayed at different levels. Most of the characters suffer from moral corruption, mental illness and grotesque appearances. This instantly suggests to us that these characters may be alienated from the rest of their society, as they may be viewed as strangers. The story "The Life You Save Maybe Your Own" opens with Mrs Crater and her daughter Lucynell watching Mr Shiftlett moving towards them. The names of these characters give us a glimpse of their personality as their names are packed with symbolism. Mr Shiftlett's name conjures up the word "shifty" implying an evasive and deceptive personality. Mrs Crater's name "Crater" suggests a giant hole, which is the moral gap in her personality. Everyone in this story has a physical or mental abnormality; Mr Shiftlett with his arm, Lucynell with her mental limitations and Mrs Crater with her moral bankruptcy. This alienates these characters from the supernatural world. ...read more.

Middle

When he leaves Lucynell alone and drives off, he "felt that a man with a car had a responsibility to others and kept his eye out for a hitchhiker". Ironically, he feels no responsibility towards the helpless girl he left in the restaurant. However there is a moment of grace, as Shiftlett: "...Was more depressed then ever as he drove on by himself" It could be implied that all Flannery O Connor's characters have a moment of redemption, as the hostility they act in is strangely capable of returning them to reality and prepare them to accept their moment of grace. This suggests that violence brings the characters to life, as life for Flannery O Connor may have to involve violence in order to be realistic. The story "A Good Man Is Hard To Find" begins with the typical nuclear family being challenged by the grandmother who doesn't want to take the vacation to Florida as she has read about a misfit on the loose. ...read more.

Conclusion

In "Good Country People", we are introduced to a different form of alienation. Hulga, the well-educated girl alienates herself from the people around her. Her mother implies to us that her education could have corrupted her mind, which lead to her alienation, as she does not communicate with others around her. She feels different as she has a wooden leg and therefore is one of Flannery O Connor's grotesque characters. Her wooden leg is her identity as she takes a great deal of care for it as though it was her "soul". She is alienated from the supernatural world because she is an atheist. However, it becomes ironic when she claims to have no illusions but yet believes in the Bible salesman. When she believes in him, her identity and her privacy (of which is portrayed by the wooden leg) is destroyed when the Bible salesman runs away with her wooden leg and leaves her in a humiliating position. In all of Flannery O'Connor's short stories, alienation is present. Most of the characters suffer from moral corruption, mental illness and grotesque appearances, which results in their alienation from the supernatural world. Sarah Khalil ...read more.

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