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The Paradox and Brilliance of Flannery O'Connor

            According to literary researcher Patrick Galloway, one must be "initiated to her trademarks when reading Flannery O'Connor's novels or short stories." In many of her works, O'Conner paradoxically uses styles that are both grotesque and brutal to illustrate various themes of grace and self-actualization. As the writer herself once said, "I have found that violence is strangely capable of returning my characters to reality and preparing them to accept their moment of grace." (qtd. in Hawkins 30) .
             Although there are moments in her works that are disturbing, Flannery O'Connor's use of paradox is an effective literary technique which resonate with the reader, deepening the feeling and meaning of her stories. Her short stories, "A Good Man is Hard to Find,"" and "Good Country People," "can be helpful tools for those looking for perfect examples of O'Connors unique and brilliant writing style. .
             In an interpretation that requires less reliance on the beliefs held to be true in O'Connor's worlds and likely held by the author herself as a Catholic, the grandmother can be seen as responsible not only for the death of her family but even for the creation of The Misfit himself (Renner). The very notions of good and bad and the need to classify everyone; a need that the grandmother demonstrates throughout the brief story are directly responsible for the creation of misfits in society, and The Misfit is no exception. By objectifying both individuals and their behaviors and morality, the grandmother is responsible for creating the very notion of evil, and her inability to correctly categorize places her and her family in danger (Renner). The same type of mistaken objectification takes place in an even clearer manner in the second of O'Connor's works discussed here, "Good Country People ". In this story, a young man purporting to travel the countryside selling Bibles catches the eye of a pessimistic woman with a philosophy doctorate but who otherwise acts much like an adolescent, living at home with her mother in the rural South.

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