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The Geranium and The Artificial Nigger (Comparrative Essay)

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Introduction

Stories are simply a reflection of life. They are thus, the positions that we hold in regards to life as we see it. These positions define us; who we are, how we view things, and why we possess the feelings and opinions that we do is expressed through writing. It is always interesting to see how authors like Flannery O'Connor, present and show their positions on a topic through one story, and then further substantiate their perspectives and views by drawing parallels to some of their other works. O'Connor expresses and further substantiates her positions in regards to racial discrepancy, and the notions of being lost in racism, both literally and metaphorically. Two works, "The Artificial Nigger," and "The Geranium" are two examples of O'Connor's substantiated views on the topic of racism, & racial discrepancy. "The Geranium" is a story of which an elderly man, known only as "Old Dudley," is taken from his home and literally displaced in a New York City apartment building, where he lives with his daughter. Quite quickly our attention focuses on the symbol that O'Connor revolves the story around: "The Geranium." ...read more.

Middle

It is at this point, where Dudley's hope has gone. He is now lost, both literally, and metaphorically. He is lost in his racism, which has fallen to the depths, and at this point realises that there is no "home" to go back to. "The Artificial Nigger" is a story of epiphany. The story revolves around two characters: Mr. Head, and his Grandson Nelson. They venture out into the city of Atlanta however, only come to find themselves lost. In the introduction of the story, Mr. Head's racism, and racial standpoint is evident, and clearly expressed. Mr. Head states, in a rather vulgar manner, "You may not like it a bit... It'll be full of niggers" (252). In further substantiating this point, Mr. Head pokes fun at negroes in a great distaste. "That was a nigger" (255). As the story progresses, the two find themselves lost in Atlanta, searching for the train station. "For blocks they didn't pass even a dog" (267). Mr. Head and his grandson are indeed lost, however they are lost both racially, and literally. ...read more.

Conclusion

(270). These stories, "The Artificial Nigger" and "The Geranium" work together to substantiate certain things of the author. The stories revolve around the fact of being lost, however not only literally. In "The Geranium," Old Dudley is lost both within himself racially, and lost in terms of placement. He feels hopeless, as he is no longer in a place of comfort. In "The Artificial Nigger," Mr. Head and his grandson Nelson have found themselves lost in the city of Atlanta, however the story quickly shifts from literal to metaphorical misplacement. Mr. Head's racial standpoints are clearly pointed out at the beginning of the story, however it is these views towards race that Mr. Head is lost. Both of these works press hardly on the issue of racism. It is evident that O'Connor is trying to show equality between white and black, showing and presenting the characters in the story as feeling sorry for themselves for holding the views that they do. In other words we learn that O'Connor believes strongly in equality of races, and greatly looks down upon racism, and ideas of racial discrepancy based on ones' color. These attributes of O'Connor's nature are fully substantiated in light of both stories having relatively the same theme, in regards to the topic of race. ...read more.

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