A Critical Analysis of "Revelation" by Flannery O'Connor

1591 Words May 9th, 1996 7 Pages
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A Critical Analysis of "Revelation"

by Flannery O'Connor

Flannery O'Connor's background influenced her to write the short

story "Revelation." One important influence on the story is her Southern

upbringing. During her lifetime, Southerners were very prejudiced towards

people of other races and lifestyles. They believed that people who were less

fortunate were inferior to them; therefore, people were labeled as different

things and placed into different social classes. The South provided O'Connor

with the images she needed for her characters. Similarly, this can easily be

identified in her short story "Revelation." The characters in the story are

identified by physical characteristics and some are even
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Turpin all her life. Another element

of plot which reinforces the theme of "Revelation", is the element of surprise

which actually brings the main conflict out in the open. O'Connor brings the

conflict out well because the incidents that built up to the actual conflict do

not give away what is going to happen. The action around the conflict is

completely surprising and unpredictable. We are aware the girl dislikes Mrs.

Turpin because of her previous actions. The girl never does anything other

than give dirty looks; therefore, we are not expecting any type of physical

violence between them. When the girl hits Mrs. Turpin in the face with the

book, Mrs. Turpin is conversing with another character and is not talking to

the girl. In this situation, a violent act by the girl is completely unpredictable.

Also, O'Connor uses an unhappy ending for this story. Mrs. Turpin, who is

happy being who she is, does not understand why the girl hated her. She

does not think she is a bad person, and she cannot comprehend why she is

not liked. O'Connor ends the story with Mrs. Turpin's questions unanswered

which leaves her with a sadness that is unsolvable. Through the use of social

conflict, the element of surprise, and an unhappy ending, a believable plot is


To further develop the theme, O'Connor uses consistent behavior, clear

motivation, and plausibility to create convincing characterization. The

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