Essay about Parker’s Redemption

1955 Words8 Pages
Parker’s Redemption Flannery O’Connor’s story “Parker’s Back” introduces us to a man who feels incomplete and is seeking to fill the empty space in his soul. He attempts to do so the only way he knows how, by getting tattoos. He continues this until “the front of [his body is] almost completely covered…” (514). In fact, Parker even considers getting a religious tattoo to appease his over-zealously religious wife Sarah Ruth. A brush with death that is literally a “burning bush” experience drives him to mark the change in his life by getting that tattoo. He races to the tattoo parlor and demands to see the religious tattoos. He chooses a Byzantine Christ. In this story, Flannery O’Connor tries to show that although Parker’s attempts to…show more content…
Whenever he gets a chance, he looks at his tattoos, but notices that “the effect was not of one intricate arabesque of colors but of something haphazard and botched. A huge dissatisfaction would come over him…. As the space on the front of him for tattoos decreased, his dissatisfaction grew and became general” (514). He is seeking something greater. This dissatisfaction is amplified when he meets Sarah Ruth. Even though he finds her physically unattractive, he cannot help falling in love with her. She is the only person he reveals his true name to. Several factors play into this attraction. Although Parker’s “tattoos were attractive to the kind of girls he liked but who had never liked him before” (513), Sarah Ruth detests them and calls them “vanity of vanities” (515), and this playing hard-to-get fascinates him. Sarah Ruth’s religiosity attracts him as well: “She had asked him if he was saved and he had replied that he didn’t see it was anything in particular to save him from. After that, inspired, Parker had said, ‘I’d be saved enough if you was to kiss me’” (518). Although religion was something he ran from previously, Parker desires to be near to it as an attempt to appease his unrest. But more importantly, Sarah Ruth’s demand to know his full name, his identity (something she does twice), is the strongest attraction. When
Open Document