Flannery O’Connor, grace, Christianity, violence, fiction, literature, Bible
Within Flannery O’Connor’s works are the repeating themes of grace and salvation. Kathleen G. Ochshorn points one major criticism towards O’Connor’s works however in that her morally flawed characters’ reception of grace and salvation comes through violent or traumatic means, which appears counter to the Roman Catholic faith of Flannery O’Connor. This paper argues against this reading of Flannery O’Connor’s works by examining the Catholic theology surrounding grace alongside the theology of grace as understood through Protestantism. The paper then places three of Flannery O’Connor’s works, “Greenleaf,” “Revelation,” and “The Enduring Chill,” within a Catholic and Protestant reading to explore the relation between the characters and the depiction of grace found within the stories to the two major sects of Christianity. Further examination of the Biblical narrative on God and critical commentary on the nature of Flannery O’Connor’s writing then occurs to link Flannery O’Connor’s delivery of grace and revelation to a higher plane above merely a Catholic or Protestant theological understanding. By so doing, the paper argues that Flannery O’Connor’s ideology of grace transcends a strict interpretation. A potential interpretation is then presented as her stories were not an analysis of grace but an invitation for reader’s to challenge their understanding of God and His grace and thus open themselves to having their own transcendent encounter with God.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Trinnaman, Taran, "Flannery O’Connor and Transcendence in the Christian Mystery of Grace" (2018). Student Publications. 230.
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