I’m pleased to present an inventive, eloquent craft essay for the eleventh issue of Mason’s Road. The essay, entitled “Symbolism in the Stories of Flannery O’Connor,” by Carolyn Brown, examines a slim but memorable portion of O’Connor’s oeuvre, positing that the author’s deliberate use of symbolism is inherently connected to her devout Catholicism. It examines stories within A Good Man is Hard to Find, along with Everything that Rises Must Converge. With extracted passages of O’Connor’s prose, Brown shows readers the purity of the icon’s voice, and the epiphanies that seem plainly hidden – and easily accessible – for her characters.
In this essay, Brown writes to the thematic thread of joy in an indirect, but cogent way. That is, although much of O’Connor’s spiritual subtext – as seen in the sky and in nature – is ambiguous, Brown points out that O’Connor’s characters can appreciate, or disregard the helpful signs from above; that is, then, the comfort of a divine power, or simply the ability to understand life, which in itself can be joyous. Brown seems to assert that O’Connor wrote not only to disseminate ‘face value,’ but also to unearth looser, more spiritual elements. Altogether, it is an essay of wit which takes an adamant stance on the literature of an American icon.
I hope you enjoy it.