Flannery O'Connor's Gothic Art/ART GOTHIQUE DE FLANNERY O'CONNOR

By Jing, Li | Canadian Social Science, January 1, 2006 | Go to article overview

Flannery O'Connor's Gothic Art/ART GOTHIQUE DE FLANNERY O'CONNOR


Jing, Li, Canadian Social Science


Abstract:

Flannery O'Connor's works are enchanted with bloody violence, gloomy religion, typical southern settings together with groups of freakish, demonic people. It is generally hold that there are Gothic elements in her works. This article attempts to analyze her special Gothic art instead of Rural Gothic or Southern Gothic and generalizes O'Connor's heritage and development of the Gothic tradition. O'Connor breaks away from the southern tradition and provokes the postmodern gothic as the means to reveal the alienation of modern people and society.

Key words: Flannery O'Connor; Gothic; violence; comedy; postmodernism

Résumé: Les oeuvres de Flannery O'Connor sont enchantées par la violence sanglante, la religion morne, le contexte typiquement méridional et des groupes de personnes démoniaques et bizarres. Il est généralement admis qu'il existe des éléments gothiques dans ses oeuvres. Cet esssai tente d'analyser son art gothique spécial au lieu de l'art gothique rural ou méridional, et généraliser l'héritage et le développement de O'Connor sur la tradition gothique. O'Connor brise la tradition méridionale et provoque le gothique postmoderne qui peut servir d' outil de révéler l'aliénation de l'homme et la société modernes.

Mots-Clés: Flannery O'Connor, gothique, violence, comédie, postmodernisme

According to Oxford Literary Terms "Gothic novel or Gothic romance, a story of terror and suspense, usually set in a gloomy old castle or monastery. (Baldick, 1996:92) The grotesque is frequently found as an accompanying or subsidiary feature to such literary forms as the Gothic and the Fantastic. It may be characterized as a deformation of the real-life, with verisimilitude yielding to caricature, often of human features, and of plant and animal forms. The term 'a grotesque' may also be applied to a combination of the comic and the serious may be realized, often satirically, in the form of unexpected transitions: from forced elevated rhetoric to abrupt comic denouement.

1. GOTHIC

Gothic art, here, refers to Flannery O'Connor's craftsmanship on novel &fiction &short story writings, which includes some Gothic elements (violent depiction, supernatural haunting, horror, terror etc.) and the Grotesque(combination of comedy and violence). She wrote horrorifying stories, depicted gruesome backgrounds, created weird atmosphere, and drew deformed and metamorphic characters with Gothic skills. The violence description was prevailing in her literary works to achieve shocking effect. These freakish people tried to pursuit the spiritual satisfaction through the extremely terrible violent acts. Those acts revealed the twisted human nature. Therefore her works are with distinctively religious color. The grotesques are actually the realization of the amplification of spiritual emptiness and distortion, which was veiled by social violence and bizarre acts. (Wang Songlin, 2001: 307).The readers will be shocked to think about the morale value underneath the story. The contemporary modern world is gradually losing the morels, which were highly worshiped by the old South, while the new morels are not built up. "Some people have the notion that you read the story and then climb out of it into the meaning, but for the fiction writer himself the whole story is the meaning, because it is an experience, not an abstraction." (MM, 73) Maybe the readers would feel indifferent about the decaying society, yet they must be taken apathy by the amplification of violence by Flannery O'Connor. Furthermore, the gifted southern female writer was extremely fond of depicting freakish characters.

Miss O'Connor adopted grotesque to form her Gothic Art. She identifies three items, any of which could constitute "grotesqueness" in fiction: an uncommon experience, the use of "mystery", or characters with and invisible burden. We might list immediately examples or characters for each, respectively: "A Good Man Is Hard to Find"; "A View of the Woods", in which Mr. …

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