The Geranium And The Short Story

Decent Essays

Flannery O’Connor’s The Geranium and A Good Man is Hard to Find:

Imagery in Flashbacks and Memories

Many of Flannery O’Connor’s short stories take place over the course of one day. The length of her scenes, the description in which she fills them and her pristine use of dialogue makes her protagonists well developed. They do not feel like characters we have just met, but ones we have always known, making the stories feel longer than a day’s time, too. In studying a few O’Connor stories there is another common element of craft she uses in order for us to understand and know her characters better, given the handful of pages that make up her short stories. That is her use of flashback and character memory. The first story in Flannery O’Connor’s The Complete Stories is The Geranium. Here, we spend a day with Old Dudley, a racist man from the south who has since moved in with his daughter in a tiny New York City apartment. O’Connor’s mastery becomes alive automatically. Flannery provides us with flashbacks though Old Dudley’s mind. This helps us to literally see him better, for the flashbacks contain short, but vivid imagery, showing us another side of Dudley and the other life he used to live. The same can be said about the nameless grandmother in A Good Man in Hard to Find. While the protagonist here is slightly more personable, she has a similar mindset as Old Dudley: her ways and ideals are stuck in the past. We are given similar glimpses into this past life through the

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