Stand By Me Themes

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Imagine sitting in a hospital room in the 1960’s. The radio is playing “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King, and the woman across the room rambles ceaselessly about how “niggers” should be sent back to Africa. Coincidentally, Mrs. Turpin, a plump, pious woman with extreme opinions, enters the same hospital with her husband, Claud, to seek treatment for Claud’s ulcus leg. Flannery O’Connor depicts Mrs. Turpin as an egotistical, devoted Christ follower who contradicts her own righteous beliefs as she faces the deadly sin of hypocrisy. Wandering her eyes around the room, Mrs. Turpin boasts about her superior social ranking and reveals her insulting inner thoughts about the characters in the hospital waiting room, making critical remarks about their lower social standings. It wasn’t until the attack of Mary Grace, a Wellesley college student in the hospital room, that Mrs. Turpin became plagued with a life epiphany and reevaluated her life. Consequently, Mrs. Turpin experiences a revelation in which she finally realizes that anyone can be …show more content…

As Mrs. Turpin occupies herself all night with “the question of who she would have chosen to be if she couldn't have been herself. If Jesus had said to her before he made her, ‘There's only two places available for you. You can either be a nigger or white trash," (Flannery), she demonstrates the racism that goes on in the story. Additionally, Mrs. Turpin highlights the theme of religion as she contradicts her Catholic beliefs with her hypocrisy. Claiming that she is a firm believer of the Bible, Turpin disobeys the Biblical verse “Do not judge so that you will not be judge (Catholic Edition, Matthew. 7.11) as she constantly ranks individuals by their social class. Ultimately, not only does the author supports these themes through historical context and emotional appeals but also through her religious

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