Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Lessons of O'Connor

     O’Connor has a very unique writing style, therefore, it almost impossible to study this many of her works, and leave the texts an unchanged person. The element of her works that leaves the deepest impression, and distinguishes her from so many other authors is how she puts a strong emphasis on the grotesque. This affects the reader in so many different ways. In fact, it changes the way that the reader looks at the world outside of the texts. There are two big things that O’Connor does for the reader. O’Connor changes her reader’s view of humanity and encourages her readers to not be so self-obsessed.
     O’Connor is very good at making her readers think of people in a different way. Haze Motes is a very good example of how she does this. All throughout Wise Blood people are constantly mistaking Haze for a preacher. The way he dresses and carries himself and even the very look in his eyes gives the people he encounters the impression that he is a “good man.” However, the reader of Wise Blood sees from the very beginning that Haze is the opposite of a “good man.” He is an incredibly messed up fellow, and even kills a helpless, innocent man for really no reason at all. This changes your perception of the world a lot. It reiterates the fact that you can never really know someone. This is a theme seen all throughout O’Connor’s works. The people in her stories are rarely what they seem to be, and sometimes this is never even revealed to the other characters in her stories. This is something that can push people into being more aware of the people surrounding them and lead them to be curious of who people really are on the inside. Basically, O’Connor can make her readers a bit paranoid if they allow her too.

     Almost every character in O’Connor’s works that comments a heinous crime is incredibly introspective in their way of thinking. Haze Mote’s can be a good example of this as well. Haze rarely ever responds to what is going on around him, he talks to people, but it is almost always about something going on in his head that has nothing to do with the situation at hand. Mrs. McIntyre from the Displaced Person is also a good example of this very intense introspection, as is Mr. Head from The Artificial Nigger. All of these characters are so caught up in what they want to happen and what they think in their minds would be best that they never even stop to try and consider what the outcome will be. Eventually all of these characters do something drastic and incredibly irrational due to their self-absorbed natures. It is almost as if they are all living with a false sense of reality, and they do not think there is anything outside of themselves and their own heads. In showing the reader this, O’Connor is encouraging people to be more aware of their surroundings and to keep in touch with reality. 

1 comment:

  1. Good on the inwardness. Abernathy and I were just talking about the different sorts of inwardness in relation to Caroline Gordon and how hard they can be at times to sort out. Not easy to do, given our boundless capacity for self-deception. Keeping in touch with reality (considered in its ultimate sense) is no easy thing.