Cosmology and Southern Gothic

2051 WordsJul 13, 20189 Pages
The question, “How did we get here,” deals with cosmology, the study of the universe. No one knows for sure how the universe works or how we got here, but many Southern Gothic authors, such as Flannery O’Connor and Edgar Allan Poe, use their literature as a way of expressing their beliefs about the clockwork of the universe. These authors use their dark and grotesque fictional stories to make sense of where we, as humans, stand in the universe. In The Violent Bear it Away, O’Connor uses Francis Tarwater, a miracle who was saved by God, to answer the question, “How did we get here?” Francis Tarwater goes through his life stuck in between two completely opposite universes and is forced to choose which one he wants to be a part of. The…show more content…
He eventually steps into the world of his great uncle Tarwarter and realizes “that his destiny forced him on a final revelation.” (O’Connor 233). O’Connor shows through young Tarwater’s decision on the path of life he chose to take, to show God and the universe impact people’s lives in mysterious ways. Flannery O’Connor displays the theme of cosmology and explores the big picture of the universe in many other of her Southern Gothic stories such as, The Lame Shall Enter First. “The Lame Shall Enter First is even more disquieting than most of O'Connor's works, and her protagonist's maneuverings for redemption are thoroughly skewed” (Gentry 37). This short story is about a widower, Sheppard, whose main purpose in life is to raise his only son, Norton. But he abandons his son while trying to cope with the grief of his wife’s death. During this process, Sheppard turns his back on his hurting son, who is also trying to deal with the death, and decides to do charitable deeds for others. Sheppard tells his son, “If you stop thinking about yourself and think what you can do for somebody else then you’ll stop missing your mother”(O’Connor____). Sheppard’s primary deed was taking in a troubled boy, from the local reformatory he volunteers at named Rufus. “Sheppard's dealings with Rufus are actually part of an unconscious strategy for returning to an ideal. The ‘ideal’ to which Sheppard wishes to return, however, is his dead wife, and Rufus is to be her replacement”

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