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A Patriotic Deus ex Machina in Flannery O'Connor's "The Displaced Person"

A Patriotic Deus ex Machina in Flannery O'Connor's "The Displaced Person" A Patriotic Deus ex Machina in Flannery O’Connor’s “The Displaced Person” by Randy Boyagoda “Good and evil appear to be joined in every culture at the spine.” — Flannery O’Connor, “The Catholic Novelist in the South” Critical attention to the relationship between religion and southern- ness in Flannery O’Connor’s fiction has long been focused through her famous observation that “while the South is hardly Christ- centered, it is most certainly Christ- haunted” (Collected Works 818). Many critics have productively tested the incisiveness of this statement in their readings of the stories and have naturally focused on how the Divine Son haunts O’Connor’s South. Comparatively few, however, have investigated how fathers — both divine and human — haunt O’Connor’s landscapes. As a result, not enough has been said about what this fatherly haunting suggests regarding O’Connor’s general position on specifically patriar - chal masculinity, and how a sense of this position could in turn inform and clarify her critiques of modern Western life as situated in the post- war American South. Louise Westling has helpfully drawn attention to the “absent patriarch” featured in O’Connor’s works and rightly notes that “O’Connor’s ultimate identification is with this paternal author - ity [in http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

A Patriotic Deus ex Machina in Flannery O'Connor's "The Displaced Person"

The Southern Literary Journal , Volume 43 (1) – Mar 16, 2011

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 the Southern Literary Journal and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of English.
ISSN
1534-1461

Abstract

A Patriotic Deus ex Machina in Flannery O’Connor’s “The Displaced Person” by Randy Boyagoda “Good and evil appear to be joined in every culture at the spine.” — Flannery O’Connor, “The Catholic Novelist in the South” Critical attention to the relationship between religion and southern- ness in Flannery O’Connor’s fiction has long been focused through her famous observation that “while the South is hardly Christ- centered, it is most certainly Christ- haunted” (Collected Works 818). Many critics have productively tested the incisiveness of this statement in their readings of the stories and have naturally focused on how the Divine Son haunts O’Connor’s South. Comparatively few, however, have investigated how fathers — both divine and human — haunt O’Connor’s landscapes. As a result, not enough has been said about what this fatherly haunting suggests regarding O’Connor’s general position on specifically patriar - chal masculinity, and how a sense of this position could in turn inform and clarify her critiques of modern Western life as situated in the post- war American South. Louise Westling has helpfully drawn attention to the “absent patriarch” featured in O’Connor’s works and rightly notes that “O’Connor’s ultimate identification is with this paternal author - ity [in

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Mar 16, 2011

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