What is the definition of childishness? It is formally defines as a property that is characteristic of a child, but what exactly is characteristic of a child? There are many things that children obsess over that are considered to be typical of a child; therefore, it is merely pushed aside. “Kids will be kids”, is a phrase commonly used after a child has done or attempted some ridiculous act. Children are easily entertained, and also easily swayed. These two things are seen very often in O’Connor’s stories. However, they are not necessarily seen in the character of the children, but they are seen in the character of the adults quite often. Throughout all of O’Connor’s works the reader can find many adult characters that have many childish qualities. In fact, it could be argued that the majority of O’Connor’s adult characters are this way. They seemed to have switched roles with the children they supposedly “care for.”
The story that this reversal of roles is seen the most in is The Artificial Nigger, but, if one examines the characters closely in most of her stories, there is an adult in each that acts and responds to situations like a child. This theme is seen so often, one starts to think that maybe O’Connor is saying something here. This is another way that O’Connor shows this grotesque, twisted view of the world that she seems to have. Another thing O’Connor could be showing the reader could be that because the world is so twisted and grotesque, people are in a perpetual state of childishness. It is impossible for people to grow up because they can never grow past how the world has screwed up their childhoods, so when they become adults they then drop back down and attempt to get back the lost time.