Flannery O'Connor's Stories

Why Flannery O’Connor Uses Violence to Represent Grace: Analysis of "Revelation," "Greenleaf," and Other Stories College

At first glance, Flannery O’Connor’s work seems to begin and end with despair. In many of her works, she paradoxically uses styles that are grotesque and brutal to illustrate themes of grace and self-actualization. The use of violence returns her character to reality and prepares them for grace. Violence is a part of a relentless - at times terrifying - grace that hounds her characters. She shows violence similar to that of which threw Saul from his horse and blinded him, and, the same grace that drove the disciples to the ends of the earth where they suffered horrifying deaths. This suffering and violence is not just an unfortunate reality that sometimes confronts Christians, but is an integral part of what it means to encounter Christ. Although disturbing, O’Connor’s anagogical paradox is an effective literary technique, deepening the meaning of her stories so that the proud are humbled, the ignorant are enlightened and the wise are shown the wisdom of the world is foolishness.

Sin is a disease that every person has, but we are often unaware of the extent of how it has metastasized. As it is found in the book of Genesis, the first sin that caused the fall of humanity was a pride, a true spiritual sickness. It is a sin that...

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