"Between the House and the Chicken Yard"

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Recognizing personal tendencies and developing literary talents enabled Mary Flannery O'Connor to don multiple masks, concealing or revealing segments of herself as she desired. With no memoirs or lengthy autobiographies, O'Connor's published works, letters, manuscripts, along with previously unpublished letters are examined to determine how O'Connor defined herself, not just how other scholars interpret her life and works. In fact, the plethora of criticism is in danger of obscuring the most important authority: O'Connor herself...Carl Jung claimed that adopted personas allow people ways to conform to society acceptably. While O'Connor's personal and social masks were affected by her Southern and Catholic roots, her vivid imagination and artistry fashioned her literary masks, allowing her to explore life's grotesqueness. Some of O'Connor's literary characters shelter self-defining features of her own personality and purpose. O'Connor's masks serve as metaphorical embodiments of her veiled autobiography, illuminating key components of her sense of self and of her literary power. Sharp's exploration of these society-obligatory and self-imposed masks identify O'Connor's goals, struggles, and successes; her critical insight into her own literature; her reaction and responses to family, friends, and acquaintances; and, ultimately, her own success and growth.... and misguided anger, while The Misfit in Oa#39;Connora#39;s a€œA Good Man Is Hard to Finda€ confronts his struggle for acceptance. ... By contrast, Oa#39;Connora#39;s The Misfit declares to the grandmother, a€œNome, I aina#39;t a good man, but I aina#39;t the worst in the world either. ... Oa#39;Connor told Hester that Gordon took a€œgreat painsa€ and was a€œ generous with her criticism...highly energetic and violently enthusiastica€ (HB, 149) .

Title:"Between the House and the Chicken Yard"
Author:Jolly Kay Sharp
Publisher:Mercer University Press - 2011


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