Flannery O'Connor Thesis

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After Father Finn leaves, having instructed him about the Holy Ghost, Asbury “looked at the fierce bird with the icicle in its beak and felt that it was there for some purpose that he could not divine.” When he realizes that he is doomed to a long life suffering from undulant fever, “the fierce bird which through the years of his childhood and the days of his illness had been poised over his head, waiting mysteriously, appeared all at once to be in motion.” It descends toward him, since he is doomed to suffer for his refusal to open his mind to Grace.

Though he is a juvenile delinquent, Rufus achieves Grace in "The Lame Shall Enter First" because he believes in Jesus and tries to share the truths of the Bible with Norton.

Rufus declares himself to be controlled by Satan on the very first day he meets Sheppard.

However, unlike Sheppard, he actually believes in God and begins to teach Norton about heaven and hell.

It formed a brittle wall, standing as if it were the frail defense he had set up in his mind to protect him from what was coming.” The treeline represent’s Asbury’s determination to culminate his life as a suffering artist in an early death; however, the sky, which represents his chance at life, overwhelms that opportunity.

Characters can receive Grace from God even when they deserve it the least.He resents Sheppard for trying to act like Jesus Christ while lacking all faith, and tells him, “Satan has you in his power, not only me.You too.” Sheppard tells him he is too intelligent to believe in the Bible, but Rufus eats a page of it and tells him that he will never eat earthly food again.In "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," weather is an important indicator of characters' moods and important moments.As Tom Shiftlet drives off with the younger Lucynell Crater in the car, supposedly to go on a honeymoon, "The early afternoon was clear and open and surrounded by pale blue sky;" he still has a chance to redeem himself.When he has discovered that he will not die, but will instead suffer his entire life from undulant fever, “A blinding red-gold sun moved serenely from under a purple cloud.Below it the treeline was black against the crimson sky.But when he is displeased, after Harry tells him that his mother is in fact only suffering from a hangover, "the sky appeared to darken in his eyes." As Harry runs into the river to drown himself, "The sky was a clear pale blue, all in one piece - except for the hole the sun made - and fringed around the bottom with treetops." Here, the sky represents Harry's mentality: he is focused and determined, and the only thought in his mind is faith, represented by the sun.The sun is a symbol of Catholic faith in "A Temple of the Holy Ghost," and its intensity mirrors the characters' embodiment of that faith.However, he achieves Grace in death, since he chooses to strive for salvation rather than live in the atheistic household with his parents.In "A Temple of the Holy Ghost," the child, who is on the surface ornery, suffers from a prideful disposition.


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