Innocence and Experience

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Innocence and Experience

Flannery O’Connor life was somewhat short and had an untoward incident that took her life away. She was born on March 5, 15 in Savannah, Georgia. Her father Edward Francis O’Connor became very ill with lupus and on February 1, 141, he passed away. O’Connor was diagnosed with the same disease that her father around the age of sixteen. She accomplished many during her short lifespan like an A.P. degree. Also she was gifted in drawing comic cartoons and in writing. Many of her stories related to her life for example her mother had hired help so many times just like in O’Connor’s stories. She became very weak because the illness was taking over but that did not stop her from writing. She continued to write Short stories such as “Everything that rises must converge” and around August, 164 she could not write no more. “Everything that rises must converge” and “Good country people” by Flannery O’Connor conveys the ideas of innocence and experience. Julian and Hulga is the protagonist of each story. Both of the characters go from innocent to experiencing the light.

The second collection of O’Connor short fictions is “Everything that rises must converge” shows Julian trying to teach his mother of the new south and forget the old south. The “Y” in the story is mentioned more than five times and because of that it symbolizes the old south just as declares in this quote “the Y serves as a gauge of the degeneration of the mother’s Old South family and, concomitantly, of the breakdown of old, church-related values in the United States of the mid-twentieth century” (Petry 1). Julian is anxious to teach his mother a lesson. He is hostile to towards her “Knowing who

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you are is good for one generation only. You haven’t the foggiest idea where you stand

now or who you are” (ETRMC 17). He is always angry at her because she lost the mansions plantations that she had. If she had managed it and took care of it he would be rich today and he would not have to look for a job. His mother gave up everything and worked to put him through college. He has a PHD and still no job. The mother doesn’t discipline him. She still treats him like a baby. “I think you’re doing fine”, she said, drawing her gloves, “You’ve only been out of school a year” “Rome wasn’t built in a day” (ETRMC 17). Julian is superficial and empty and a smug. The mother doesn’t mind ling in an apartment in a low class neighborhood or going to the “Y” because she is overweight.

“His feelings of superiority are not explicitly tied to race or class, but they take an even more acute form than those of his mother. While she is naïve, believing that she treats people well through her misguided gentility. Julian openly wishes ill on others” (Hardy 0).

This shows the difference from Julian’s mom and him. She cares for others but Julian wishes badly upon others. During the end of the story there is a violent climactic “convergence” of the blacks and whites. Julian mother offers a little Negro boy a shiny penny. O’Conner probably emphasizes a penny instead of a nickel because a penny has inscribed “LIBERTY” on it. Another example of the way O’Connor uses penny is because “Julian mother is unaware of the ways her “new penny” suggests the historical rise of Southern blacks” (Ower 7). When Julian mom gives the penny to the child the

mother of the child, who in fact is wearing the same cloths and purple hat, which symbolizes this Negro woman is equal to his mother. That point you could tell there is no difference between them. She hits Julian’s mom and she collapses, the one woman who loved him and did everything for him. At that moment Julian’s mother has “One eye, large and staring, moved slightly to the left as if it had become unmoored” (ETRMC 06). She figures out that moment he is a bigot and idealist. She leaves him and he realizes that the light of what he done. “He recognizes that his mother is dying and enters the world of “guilt and sorrow (Shackelford 6). Julian wanted to teach his innocent mother a lesson, but he has experienced the grief of losing his mother. His mother knew who she was he did not and he lost someone who loved him so much. In the next story which will be discussed further throughout this paper, Hulga experiences the same dramatic lesson with someone who she thought loved her.

In “Good Country People” the main character Hulga is no different than Julian. Hulga is years old with PHD she has not accomplished anything in her life. Only she lost an important thing, which is her leg. After the hunting accident she had no faith in anything even God. She has no soul and does not have a full body. O’Connor symbolizes the character not having a soul because she is missing a limb. She thinks that she is a “superior intellect” and she makes fun of everybody else. She didn’t experience the joys of life. Then a bible sales man comes to the house and she thinks she could seduce him and get her way with him. “Ironically, he is a confidence man with a peculiar affection for grotesque comparable to characters in the humor of Old Southwest” (Shackelford 5).

She doesn’t know this about him till later. She acknowledges this young man and sexually wants him. They see each other at least twice and actually give them hints on that she is better than him “I’m saved and you are damned but I told you I didn’t believe in God”(GCP18). He does not care at all he wants to do is teach her a lesson when finally the truth comes out and Pointer shows his true colors. He proves to Hulga that he is not a bible salesman and he always carries liquor, naked cards and “This product to be used only for the prevention of disease” (GCP 18). This is a box of condoms. After all this she still mocks his Christianity. He makes a fool out of Hulga and takes all her precious leg, which meant everything to her. He puts the artificial leg in a suitcase and leaves “swung it down the hole and then stepped through himself” (GCP 184). This symbolizes the devil in disguise leaving with what he wanted. Hulga is left there humiliated and lost in her battle. He brings enlightenment to her and she has met her match. The light hits her “the girl was left sitting on the straw in the dusty sunlight” (GCP 184). She is going into salvation and had her experience with the devil.

In O’Connor’s stories both of the main characters had experienced the lime light. They had to encounter religious choice and the choice of losing someone. Both narrators did not realize ill the end of the story what the future was going to hold for them. They wanted to teach someone a lesson instead the narrators were taught the lesson.

Works Cited

Crowley, J Donald . “Flannery O’Connor Overview”. Reference Guide to Short Fiction. 1st ed. St. James Press, 14. http//

Maida, Patricia Dinneen. Short Stories for students. Volume 10. 1-

O’Connor, Flannery. “Good Country People”. Literature Reading Fiction, Poetry, and Drama by Robert Diyanni United States of America, 000. 171-184.

O’Connor, Flannery. “Everything That Rises Must Converge”. Literature Reading Fiction, Poetry, and Drama by Robert Diyanni United States of America, 000. 16-06.

Petry, Alice Hall. “O’Connor’s Everything That Rises Must Converge” The Explicator. Vol. 45, No. , Spring 187. Reprinted in Short Stories for Students. Vol. 10. http//

Shackelford, D. Dean. “Flannery O’ Connor”. MagillOnAuthors. Salem Press Inc. http//

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