Appearancein Flannery O’Connor’s Works
Appearancein Flannery O’Connor’s Works
Flannery is aSouth American writer who has gone a long way to express the grace ofGod. As much as this is the case, the message of grace isexperiencing a lot of opposition in most of her writings. Throughthis, she brings out the distinction between the secular andreligious understanding. She also illustrates the fusion of thereligious and the secular ideas satirically through variouscharacters.
The writer furtherdenotes that to be religious is to get a guarantee to receive theGrace of God. One message which comes out clearly at the end of herwritings is that the grace of God has no boundaries. She says thatthe grace of God is like any force which can act on anybody and itcomes out with various forms of destructions.
Flannery bringsout the fusion of the secular and the religious understanding in oneof her stories “A Good Man is Hard to Find. ’’The two maincharacters in this story are the Grandmother and Mistif. Thegrandmother is manifested as a religious woman as seen from herentire actions.
The grandmotherwears white clothes in various scenes of her whole life. At thispoint, Flannery tries to bring out the clear understanding of mostindividuals in the society. These characters think that by wearingwhite clothes, they have secured a ticket to receive the grace ofGod. In the story, we see that the grandmother portrays herself as abeliever in Jesus Christ.
Besides, thegrandmother is not happy with the way the moral values in the worldhave continued to capsize day in day out. She believes that the worldhas changed and it is not in the state as it used to be before. Shekeeps on lamenting that the people of the current generation haverejected God and they are full of sin and disorder. At this juncture,Flannery uses the grandmother to represent people in today’s lifewho judge others. The grandmother secludes herself from the world asit is seen from her utterances indicating that people are not nicethe way they seem to be.
The grandmotherconsiders one man called Mistif who is full of secularism. Secularismis here termed as an act of keeping a distance from God. The man istermed as the most notorious national killer in the city. Again hereFlannery is trying to put out clearly the understanding of secularismin everyday life. Most individuals in the world understand that it isalmost impossible for killers to receive God’s grace. These peopleforget that the grace of God has no boundaries (Bobby, 2016).
The grandmotherfurther gets to understand what it means to be religious when she isinvolved in an accident. The grandmother and the family weretraveling for a trip when their car was involved in an accident, andeverybody was injured. Moreover, the car failed to move. At thatstate of limbo, the family was crying for help, and it is at thispoint when four men emerged. Among these four men who confronted thegrandmother and her family was the Mistif (Amy, 2013).
When thegrandmother realizes that the man they are seeking help from is theMistif, she gives options to the killer to either save them or leavethem to perish. Here the writer brings out the notion that thereligious people see no much importance in the secularizedindividuals. The religious in today’s life have the mind that theyhave nothing to do with the non-religious neither do they need theirhelp. Thus this is the reason why the grandmother gives options tothe Mistif to either help them or let them be.
The grandmotherpleads for help from Lord Jesus. She promises to offer everything shehas to Jesus if she is given another chance to live. She does thisafter all her family members have been shot dead. The grandmotherbelieves that religion is the only act that brings happiness andsalvation to people. Here the writer is trying to urge Christians tobe morally upright if at all they want to live in happiness and joy.
It thisexcerpt, the idea of religious and secular fusion is put out clearly.Both the Mistif and the grandmother learned their lessons on thefusion of the religious and the secular as far as the grace of God isconcerned. The grandmother learned that the man he termed as full ofsecularism was able to help her during the time of need. Flanneryhere again is trying to remind the religious not to despise others.The Mistif after that action had to learn that the woman he hadkilled had loved him.
O’Connor alsotries to give an understanding of the fusion of the religious and thesecular in his novel ‘Wise Blood.’ He has used Hazel Motes as acharacter to help Christians who are in a dilemma. This is when itcomes to deal with the issue of secularism and religiousness. Hazelis said to start a Church without Christ.
Flannery has usedthis tale to express the entire meaning of secularism. HereO’Connor’s aim is to criticize the level of secularism which hadhit the peak in South America. This was the time when the economy ofthe country grew drastically accompanied by high level of religiousdownfall (Amy, 2013).
In this novel,O’Connor condemns those who happen to follow the study that teachesabout the death of God. In this novel also, Flannery represents Hazelas a boy who preaches water and drinks wine. Hazel makes hisfollowers believe that there is no Jesus Christ, the fear that wasinstilled by his parents. In the real sense, Hazel believes thatthere is God. The writer’s aim here is to bring out the messagethat God exists and that Christians should never be duped that Godnever exists as the secularists believe (Dan, 2011).
In anothernovel [Mystery and Manners], Flannery says that everybody is livingin an environment surrounded by secularism whereby the understandingof Christianity is a quagmire to many. Even though Flannery isreferring to South Americans, it is important to note that thesociety where the economy rises drastically is likely to have a hugepopulation that does not know much about Christianity. Instead, theidea of secularism dominates.
Flanneryfurther explains that those who believe in Lord Jesus Christ and doaccording to His will receive God’s blessings, besides, they willhave an assurance that the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. She standsfirm and says that even if she is facing opposition from all cornersof the world, she will always stand firm in proclaiming the truthabout religion.
Flannery emphasizesthat religious people should be careful in their undertakings. Theyshould remember that the fact that they believe in God is not aguarantee that they will receive God’s mercies and the divinepower. They may be surprised that the ones that are taken to besecular will inherit the kingdom of God leaving them behind.
Besides,Flannery explains vividly that the secular people are not sinners.They are secular because they do not believe in God. She adds bysaying that, the fact that they do not believe in God shows that theyhave not yet received the right understanding of who God is. Thismeans that if the gospel of God is proclaimed in the right way andaccording to God’s will, those individuals who have no connectionwith God, shall change their minds. Through this, God’s power shallbe manifested upon all individuals.
In conclusion,Flannery aims at pointing out that God exists. He says that the graceof God is there for everyone. This grace does not choose. Also, thosewho have the free and undeserved favor of God have the hope ofeternity. The writer believes that Christians should consider anunderstanding of secularism and religiousness to avoid the confusion.
Amy, G. (2013,December 7). The World Behind it: Flannery O`Connor`s Prayer Journal.LARB.
Bobby, H. (2016,July 25). Struggle for Religious Expression in Illnois. Church of theFlying Sphagetti Monster.
Dan, G. (2011).First Academic Journal on Secularism and non-religion. It’s turningout to be a banner year for nonbelievers, 80-85.