Title

Flannery O'Connor's Pantheo-Christian World

Subject Area

Literary Criticism

Abstract

Submission of Proposal For SECCLL Conference Flannery O’Connor’s Pantheo-Christian World Flannery O’Connor’s world view continually depicts nature as offering not just a God’s-eye view, but godly reprimand and guidance. Flannery O’Connor’s God does not reside just in Heaven. There is no spiritual dualism her world; God permeates everything, and everything is God. When Moses was commanded by God to take off his shoes because he was on sacred ground, and the bush wasn’t just standing there; it was burning. In O’Connor, the world is not only so deeply sacred, but it reacts and responds. I would go so far as to say that Flannery O’Connor was not just using nature to set scenes and suggest empathetic reaction to the reader. Flannery O’Connor reaches further back in her faith than medieval Catholicism. God bristles in the soul of man, animals, plants, objects, and the air itself. O’Connor is Catholic, but she is also a pantheist. I name this strange mixture of faiths Pantheo-Christian. O’Connor’s world is sacred place. This does not just mean that God “owns” it, or that God functions within it. For O’Connor, this world that her characters occupy is still the world of Eden before the Fall. It is the Garden for O’Connor, but O’Connor’s characters do not recognize this place for what it is because they no longer have their prelapsarian “innocent” perspective. Like Milton’s Satan who is still in Hell even when he is standing in Paradise, O’Connor’s characters carry Hell within them. They cannot see the world for what it is because they have suffered a spiritually psychological change. Their souls are disordered, and the nature of our Earthly garden knows it.

Brief Bio Note

Dr. Kathy Root Pitts is an instructor at Jackson State University. She has lived in Mississippi all of her life. Her primary research interests are identifying concepts of family trauma and sacred place in Mississippi literature and validating the seriousness of comedy through humankind's Heroic Laugh.

Keywords

Flannery O'Connor, pantheism, nature, Catholicism, Sacred Place, Paradise, Eden, Milton, Christian, empathy

Location

Room 218/220

Presentation Year

2018

Start Date

4-6-2018 9:55 AM

Embargo

11-1-2017

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Apr 6th, 9:55 AM

Flannery O'Connor's Pantheo-Christian World

Room 218/220

Submission of Proposal For SECCLL Conference Flannery O’Connor’s Pantheo-Christian World Flannery O’Connor’s world view continually depicts nature as offering not just a God’s-eye view, but godly reprimand and guidance. Flannery O’Connor’s God does not reside just in Heaven. There is no spiritual dualism her world; God permeates everything, and everything is God. When Moses was commanded by God to take off his shoes because he was on sacred ground, and the bush wasn’t just standing there; it was burning. In O’Connor, the world is not only so deeply sacred, but it reacts and responds. I would go so far as to say that Flannery O’Connor was not just using nature to set scenes and suggest empathetic reaction to the reader. Flannery O’Connor reaches further back in her faith than medieval Catholicism. God bristles in the soul of man, animals, plants, objects, and the air itself. O’Connor is Catholic, but she is also a pantheist. I name this strange mixture of faiths Pantheo-Christian. O’Connor’s world is sacred place. This does not just mean that God “owns” it, or that God functions within it. For O’Connor, this world that her characters occupy is still the world of Eden before the Fall. It is the Garden for O’Connor, but O’Connor’s characters do not recognize this place for what it is because they no longer have their prelapsarian “innocent” perspective. Like Milton’s Satan who is still in Hell even when he is standing in Paradise, O’Connor’s characters carry Hell within them. They cannot see the world for what it is because they have suffered a spiritually psychological change. Their souls are disordered, and the nature of our Earthly garden knows it.