In Search of “Tremendous Frontiers”: A Socially Redemptive Reframing of Flannery O’Connor’s ‘The Displaced Person’

UNCA Author/Contributor (non-UNCA co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kira R. Leander (Creator)
University of North Carolina Asheville (UNCA )
Web Site:
Merritt Mosely

Abstract: With few exceptions, the scholarly solution to the mystery and ambiguity embedded in Flannery O’Connor’s work has been to highlight her condemnation of self-reliance and arrogance, to justify her use of violence, and to discuss the process of spiritual redemption for the individual. However, this “case closed” mentality presents an irony within O’Connor scholarship, with some scholars asking if O’Connor herself would find this type of scholarship contradictory to the literary art she created, and whether readings and interpretations of O’Connor’s short stories have become much too narrow-minded in an attempt to resolve the shock that the violence in her work often invokes. If we are to move away from scouring O’Connor’s fiction for “some ideal intention” then perhaps it also stands that the established religious framework through which her work is traditionally viewed must be broadened. In this paper, the author gives more attention and consideration to O’Connor’s portrayal of societal inequalities and constructs of power and in doing so aims to expand and make fresh the worn path in search of what more we can gain from her work’s mysteries. By entering into conversation with modern literary critics and cultural theorists, such as Doreen Fowler and Julia Kristeva, the author interrogates O’Connor’s theme of displacement as a means to discover the “transformative interchanges between self and other”

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Flannery O’Connor, literary criticism

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