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In our time - Through an exquisite combination of literary technique and absurd realism, Flannery O'Connor reveals to the reader a grotesque underside of life in the rural south of the United States.

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Introduction

Shehtaaz Zaman IB HL English per. 4 October 11, 2003 In our time Through an exquisite combination of literary technique and absurd realism, Flannery O'Connor reveals to the reader a grotesque underside of life in the rural south of the United States. By combining a certain flare for dialogue, an intense and primal understanding of human nature, and the constant use of irony, O'Connor paints a vivid image of the world she witnessed around her while commenting on society and the importance of traditional values. O'Connor transfers the vulnerability of one into many, and her mastery of shifting control within the cast of characters, ensures the uncertainty of the outcome and in the process. This reminds us that none of the roles in our lives are stagnant and that by intentionally blinding ourselves to what we do not wish to see or recognize, takes away more than just a view. Through the unique verisimilitude of her stories, she reveals to us that what we attempt to disregard inevitably emerges again and again. One of the most distinguishing aspects of O'Connor's literature are the characters she portrays and develops. Each represent philosophies and personalities, which are derived through the mid 20th century southern lifestyle. Their response to diversity and adversity eventually leads to horrific sadness, tragedy and death, or the exposure of bizarre and atrocious values. ...read more.

Middle

(Pg. 405) The allusion made in this quote is that of Saint Sebastian, a Roman martyr and an officer of the Praetorian Guard until Diocletian discovered his Christianity. His life lay in the hands of Roman archers, which is often the subject of many paintings. The arrows are frequently seen piercing his back, and in the case of Julian and his mother, represent the burden placed upon Julian. The idea that Julian perceives his own mother as a burden is remarkable. Julian does not have a job and lives with his mother at her home. Not only is he ruthless and critical of her thoughts and beliefs, he does not even consider that he might be the burden. Julian's idealistic hypocrisy is countered and revealed in the conclusion of the story. The title itself is a foreshadowing quality of the story, as one can expect inevitable conflict and perhaps, concession and compromise. Julian's hypocrisy is ironic, as he claims to know the real world better than anyone else. In the end, he is forced to understand the real world with the passing of his mother, revealing his weakness and vulnerability and the extent of dependence that he has on his mother. A tide of darkness seemed to be sweeping her away from him. 'Mother!' he cried. 'Darling sweetheart, wait!' Crumpling, she fell to the pavement. He dashed forward and fell to her side, crying, 'Mamma, Mamma!' (Pg. ...read more.

Conclusion

O'Connor makes a statement on the affiliation between the justification of religious and traditional values, and the corruption and destruction of society, ranging from the 40s / 50s era of black prejudice to an almost ludicrous extent of religious fanaticism. O'Connor's main statement was that humanity as a whole has strayed off its path, just as the Grandmother and her family did in "A Good Man...". This story can arguably be labeled as a form of foreshadowing itself, as it shows what would happen if humanity continues on its irregular path. Just as the Grandmother and her family met brutal and untimely death as a result, O'Connor is showing us that we too, will experience this, should we continue life this way. Her numerous statements on the dark realities of our world are reminders of what we have to overcome. She demonstrates the constant clash between the modern and the traditional. We must understand that we contain and determine our fate. It seems plain that O'Connor feels that the eventual outcome will be the death of society. In the stories "A Good Man is Hard to Find" and "Everything that Rises must Converge", Flannery O'Connor uses her prophetic characters in combination with Christian imagery, apocalyptic foreshadowing, and the ubiquitous evils permeating society to this particular level, and leaves the reader closing the book with a feeling of complete despondency for the future of mankind. Word Count: 1945 ...read more.

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