O’Connor further develops the theme by using literary device such as symbolism. Symbols help to explain the moral of the story using visual stimulation instead of just using words. The Characters O.E. Parker and Mrs. Turpin both hold their view how their flaws and the role religious effect their lives. These symbols also present the individual conflicts which already show in the story.
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In “Revelation” Flannery O’Connor uses several points of symbolism. Mary Grace does not like Mrs. Turpin from the beginning of the story. Her expression and signs shows she dislike Mrs. Turpin. When she is out of her anger, she throws book on Mrs. Turpin’s face. This book symbolizes her dislike toward Mrs. Turpin; the whole story depends on that book. That is the climax in the story. In doctor’s office there are different kinds of people and Mrs. Turpin classifies them as their racial terms. For example, the white-trashy woman shows the lowest class with uneducated and unintelligence, the well-dressed woman shows the higher class and very intelligence and also with an education, while Mrs. Turpin shows the middle class working woman with average intelligence and education.
In “Parker’s Back” by Flannery O’Connor, the tattoos O.E. Parker receives are summaries his whole life. O’Connor suggests them as major symbols throughout Parker’s life. Parker has tattooed on all over his body except back. All this tattoos linked with his past life and whatever he did wrong at that time. Every tattoo describes some different meaning related his with his life. This tattoo shows that the parker had trouble life before and he couldn’t able to find a peace. O’Connor uses his name O.E. Parker as symbol. O.E. Parker’s real name is Obadiah Elihue, which means servant of god. Sarah wants that Parker live up to his real name. She wants that Parker believe in God because she wants to save his life from all misdeeds. At the end where he does have a connection to God, is drawn to having a Byzantine tattoo of Christ placed on his back which shows that Parker gradually experiences religious conversion. Because of the tattoos, O’Connor reveals the major characteristics in Parker’s life and sympathizes with this man as he searches for his identity and finds God.
O’Connor creates great plot by using conflict. This conflict helps to understand character’s flaw in the story. In “Revelation” O’Conner uses a social conflict between Mrs. Turpin and some other minor characters, while in “Parker’s Back” O’Conner uses a personal conflict between parker and Sarah Ruth.
The story “Revelation” has a social conflict. The first conflict is between Mrs. Turpin and a white-trash woman. This conflict appears because Mrs. Turpin thinks that she is belongs to higher class, while the white-trash women belongs to lower class. She also thinks that white-trash woman is neither intelligent nor educated. For example, O’Conner states that “No, I already have a nice clock,” once somebody like her got a leg in conversation, she would be all over it” (382). The second conflict is between Mrs. Turpin and Mary Grace. Mary Grace’s behavior towards Mrs. Turpin is significant. She does not like Mrs. Turpin from the beginning of the story. Her expressions and rudeness shows her dislikes for Mrs. Turpin. For example, in the story O’Connor states that “The ugly girl beside her cast an eye upward at the clock, smirked, they looked directly at Mrs. Turpin and smirked again” (382). This conflict turns out well when unpredictable things happen further in the story. This act by the teenage girl is completely unpredictable. The girl dislikes Mrs. Turpin because of her previous actions. When Mrs. Turpin is talking with another character and is not talking to the girl, she hits Mrs. Turpin’s face with the book. This violent act is completely unpredictable in the story.
In “Parker’s Back” conflict appears between O. E. Parker and Sarah Ruth. Sarah Ruth and Parker’s relationship with each other is major personal conflict. Parker marries a woman he cannot stand. She, in turn, does not approve of him. Parker wishes to leave her, but finds that he can’t do so. She does not like color and tattoos still she marries with parker, it shows that she meant to save him. Her belief system is rigid, and it is because her father was a straight Gospel Preacher, she shuns churches, icons, and any manifestation of the spiritual. O’ Connor always focus on her characters weakness in the story. Parker is neither even able to please his wife nor even able to experience spiritual satisfaction. Parker refuses religion in his own life. Parker runs from all responsibility and religion to maintain power over his life. O’ Conner emphasizes O.E. Parker’s failure as a spiritual person. Throughout the development of the story, Sarah Ruth and Parker struggle to change one another. Their different belief about religion is a major conflict between them. This conflict turns out well when unpredictable action taken by Sarah Ruth. Parker finds a way to please his disapproving wife, who has consistently dismissed his body art as vanity. At the end where he does have a connection to God, he decided to make tattoo on his back a Byzantine image of Jesus. Sarah does not appreciate the tattoo; instead she beats parker wildly with the broom, until the face on his back is distorted by welts.
In both stories characters have their revelation with the God, and at the end they experience divine interventions. Despite of lot of difference in the story both characters have only similarities in the last. They both have their revelation and experience divine intervention. Mrs. Turpin and Parker experience a sudden change in their thinking; they feel that God gives a message to them.
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Mrs. Turpin has experience a divine intervention at the end. Mrs. Turpin experiences the physical act by Mary Grace which was surprising. She couldn’t able to know why she hates her so much. In the waiting room, When the Mary’s eyes lock with Mrs. Turpin’s and she said, “Go back to hell where you came from, you old wart hog” (387). Mrs. Turnip finds herself disgraceful and she realizes all that comment she used to make on other people. Now she can see herself connect to all different kind of people which she earlier describes in the story. Without this intervention, it would not be clear what had been after that violent and a “wart hog” message from God. After this realization Mrs. Turpin finally see herself clearly.
Parker also experiences a divine intervention at the end, but even in the begging of the story when he had experience like failure of his vision and threat by Sarah Ruth. At that time suddenly he felt that someone had attack on him like a giant hawk-eye angle with hoary weapon. After this instance, Parker has feels another intervention at the end of the story, but this intervention does not stay longer with Parker. He has realizes something and starts believe in God, as parker yells “GOD ABOVE” (400). He suddenly feels connection with God. He decides to get tattoo on his back. He now understands what Sarah said, and he knew he would have to answer God at judgment seat. After his divine intervention, Parker returned to home; however, at last, he is not able to please her wife because the situation now is completely different than before. When Parker enters the tattoo artist’s shop, he starts washing his back and Parker’s feels like his all bad deeds wash whatever wrongs he had done in the past. When Parker finally identifies himself as Obadiah, he feels his soul turning into an “arabesque of colors, a garden of trees and birds and beasts” (401). His relief is not long live; however, when his wife beats him with a broom, forming large welts on the tattooed Jesus. Parker loses his brief connection to God, and is reduced to helpless man “leaning against the tree, crying like a baby,” (406). It looks he feels complete failure in his life.
In conclusion, In “Revelation” Mrs. Turpin, she herself believe good person but she is not. Her comment and critique about other people shows her greatest flaw in the story. She is having problem with her own mentality and at last she realize when the violent act happen by that girl. Her divine intervention helps her as mirror to see herself. While in “Parker’s Back”, Parker is unable to please her wife after tattooed his back with Byzantine image of Jesus. The story ends with parker crying by a pecan tree outside the house. O’Connor shows Mrs. Turpin’s flaw and Parker’s downgrading of Christianity by using different elements such as appearance, symbolism, conflict and their revelation with God. Both stories turn out in unhappy ending and failure at the end. This unhappy ending is just because of characters weaknesses in nature.
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