Reflection of Flannery O’Connor’s Biography in “Revelation”
The work “Revelation” by Flannery O’Connor was chosen to analyze the question of historicity or biographical character of a literary work. This work is of particular value for research, as it provides valuable insight into what contribution the writer’s life and past experience make to her future works. Thus, in her work, O’Connor conveys her worldview of the southern society in which she grew up on her heroine and her conclusions on topics such as condemnation, grace, and racism.
First of all, it is necessary to gain an understanding of what the plot of the literary work under study is. “Revelation” is a rather extraordinary short story about going to the doctor. The main character of the whole work turns into a medical specialist since the woman believes that her husband has an ulcer in his leg. In the course of her stay in the doctor’s office, the reader is presented with the real nature of the main protagonist, which is saturated with condemnations, judgments, and racist attitudes towards representatives of other nationalities.
As already mentioned, the author was inspired and strongly influenced by the fact that O’Connor wanted to convey the problems of southern society. This desire is due to the fact that the woman grew up in this circle and had an excellent idea of all the problems that exist there (Harris 31). During growing up, the writer witnessed how southern upbringing manifests itself in people. This was especially true of attitudes towards other people and prejudice towards other races and lifestyles. In addition, most people considered themselves privileged in relation to those individuals who were not of the same level of wealth. Thus, the culture of labeling people and their social status prevailed in southern society. Thus, we can clearly say that it was the biographical aspect that made a strong investment in this work.
All the negative characteristics of the Southern upbringing and worldview are reflected in the main character of the short story O’Connor. When reading, the reader immediately gets an idea of what a really unfriendly person is, Miss Turpin. One of the manifestations of this behavior is making racist comments toward other individuals in the doctor’s office and having a dismissive attitude towards them. What especially stood out was the description of the main character of one of the women as the “ugliest face she has ever seen anyone make” (O’Connor). It is in these words that the background of the author is expressed, the knowledge which she received after living with representatives of the southern mentality.
Another aspect of the author’s experience that influenced the writing of the story is the illness from which O’Connor suffered for a long time. The problem that did not allow a woman to live peacefully was lupus, one of the most insidious and hard-to-treat diseases that may not manifest itself for a long time. Constant stress from these circumstances can greatly affect the behavior of any person, which happened to the main character. Hence, she becomes overly aggressive and, at the same time, sad compared to other people. Moreover, the author’s ill-tuned and sad moods are transmitted to the heroine and the whole situation, which is described in a short story.
In addition to the method of upbringing and illness, religion and the author’s attitude to this aspect play a unique role in the formation and development of the character. According to sources, it is known that Flannery O’Connor grew up in a Catholic society and that from an early age (Bruner 24). The author was concerned about such concepts as the sinfulness of a person and how it manifests itself and affects the actions and decisions of an individual. That is why the main protagonist of the short story “Revelation” should also be considered under this prism.
In the short story, the character of Mrs. Turpin is presented as a description of a traditional Christian. However, her behavior and statements regarding other people waiting in line at the doctor’s office show her from a completely different side. An example would be the case described in the story when she disparagingly calls black people “niggers” (O’Connor). These words clearly and clearly reflect the disregard for the postulates of the Christian faith, which shows Mrs. Turbin from the worst side shows the completely unchristian nature of her judgments. Another reference to religious motives is the name of one of the minor characters in the short story. Hence, it becomes the only heroine whose name is called, in addition to the main character, this is Mary Grace. She plays a significant role as she becomes a haven for the main character, where she can receive revelation and find God’s Grace.
All of these factors influence the creation of the plot inevitably affect the construction of a far from cheerful ending to a short story. The element of a quarrel between a woman and the girl who hit her strikes the main character. The intriguing part was that she considered herself a good person. She wonders how it can be possible to show violence towards her. Sadness and a sense of understatement arise at the end of the story when the author leaves the protagonist to think about what she deserved for such behavior.
The uniqueness of Mrs. Turpin, as absurd as it is, is precisely her ordinary and no different behavior that has been heavily influenced by her surroundings. Southern postulates and ideas about life were skillfully conveyed by the author, which helped the reader to clearly see her motives and conduct and give credibility to the short story. This is due to the fact that it is no different from real life and shows how different people can be from what is visible from the outside.
In conclusion, it is worth emphasizing that this scientific paper proved that biography and past experience make a great contribution to the way the author writes her works. Henceforth, Flannery O’Connor, in her short story “Revelation,” raises several aspects of his life at once. Firstly, the author interprets the Southern upbringing of her main protagonist and conveys all the prejudices and negative judgments that prevailed among people at that time. Secondly, O’Connor’s illness played a role in building the character of the main female character, which helped to bring latent aggression and unfriendliness to Mrs. Turpin. Finally, the third aspect was religious Christian views, which the main character completely neglected and behaved, violating all possible postulates of her religion. To develop this theme, O’Connor creates a believable plot by using a social conflict, the element of surprise, and an unhappy ending.
Bruner, Michael Mears. A Subversive Gospel: Flannery O’Connor and the Reimagining of Beauty, Goodness, and Truth. InterVarsity Press, 2017.
Harris, Carole K. “The Pleasant Lady” in Flannery O’Connor’s “Revelation.” Flannery O’Connor Review, vol. 16, 2018, pp. 30-55.
O’Connor, Flanerry. Revelation. Unfolding Flannery O’Connor, 2011.