Flannery Oconner Essay, Research Paper
Flannery O Connor s use of the protagonist in the three stories Everything That Rises Must Converge , A Good Man is Hard to Find , and Revelation are all expressed through characters that do not fit the typical protagonist mold. As you will see the three protagonists have many similarities. Mrs. Turpin and Julian s mothers similarities are out in the open and easy to recognize. On the other hand the grandmother s similarities are more subdued, but she does share them with the other women.
There are many commonalties between the protagonists in the stories by Flannery O Connor. First physically, they are all elderly women. All three are mothers of boys. Another likeness is the women and their sheer physical presence. In Everything Rises Must Converge Julian s mother walks on the bus and immediately begins to control the conversation. People seem to feed off her commentaries. These commentaries are usually on the basis of racism. As she states when she notices that there are no black people on the bus, I see we have the bus to ourselves. (p.344) Mrs. Turpin is almost the exact same way as Julian s mother. The only difference between the two is that Mrs. Turpin was waiting in a doctor s office. She too seems like she is the one who is in command of the conversation. The same holds true for the grandmother in A Good Man is Hard to Find. She continues a conversation with a man that is has murdered her family and threatening to murder her.
Through the use of dialog these three women also control the man in each of their stories. Julian s mother tries to control her son s life. Her son still lives at home and put him through school. Mrs. Turpin s husband is held silent for just about the entire story.
She orders him around and tells him to sit down. The grandmother too controls her son when she convinces him to go down the dirt path to see the house with the secret panel. She tells him It would be very educational. (p.356)
One thread that binds all three women is that they are very concerned about their social standing in life. Julian s mother always dresses in her nice dresses and wears white gloves with her fancy hats. She wants to make everyone believe that she has money, but the sad fact is that her family lost all of the money. Mrs. Turpin believes that social stature is more important than anything. She is constantly comparing life for people of different races and classes. He imagines that if God had offered her a choice of, There s only two places available for you. You can either be a nigger or white-trash. (p.365) She would chose to be black, a race that she despises, as long as she still had money. The grandmother too dresses like she is from some prominent family.
One final link between the women is that all are eventually attacked. The black lady punches out Julian s mother because she offered money to the little black boy. Soon after she has a stroke and dies. The Misfit eventually murders the grandmother, along with the rest of her family. Finally Mary Grace attacks Mrs. Turpin. The only difference with Mrs. Turpin is that she realizes her prejudice through a vision in the end. The others aren t given the opportunity to do so.