Revelation by Flannery O'Connor

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"Revelation" is a short story by Flannery O'Connor. It was published in 1965 in her short story collection Everything That Rises Must Converge. O'Connor finished the collection during her final battle with lupus. She died in 1964, just before her final book was published. A devout Roman Catholic, O'Connor often used religious themes in her work.

"All my stories are about the action of grace on a character who is not very willing to support it, but most people think of these stories as hard, hopeless and brutal."—Flannery O'Connor.

In reality, her writing is filled with meaning and symbolism, hidden in plain sight beneath a seamless narrative style that breathes not a word of agenda, of dogma, or of personal belief. In this way, her writing is intrinsically esoteric, in that it contains knowledge that is hidden to all but those who have been instructed as to how and where to look for it, i.e. the initiated. Flannery O'Connor is a Christian writer, and her work is message-oriented, yet she is far too brilliant a stylist to tip her hand; like all good writers, crass didacticism is abhorrent to her. Nevertheless, she achieves what few Christian writers have ever achieved: a type of writing that stands up on both literary and the religious grounds, and succeeds in doing justice to both.

Ugliness pervades Flannery O'Connor's "Revelation." Physical repulsiveness is used extensively to mirror the baseness and bigotry of characters. Thus, the story is populated with repugnant people; there are disgusting animals and objects. The word "ugly" itself appears seventeen times. Even the proper names signify the moral ugliness which the author exposes in this powerful piece of short fiction. The protagonist is Ruby Turpin, "a respectable, hard-working, church-going woman." In her own eyes, Ruby is a "good woman," and her self-satisfaction finds...
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