Title page for ETD etd-04202006-122716

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Cofer, Jordan Ray
Author's Email Address jcofer@vt.edu
URN etd-04202006-122716
Title The Theology of Flannery O’Connor: Biblical Recapitulations in the Fiction of Flannery O’Connor
Degree Master of Arts
Department English
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Gardner, Thomas M. Committee Chair
Colaianne, Anthony J. Committee Member
Oehlschlaeger, Fritz H. Committee Member
  • Southern Literature
  • Biblical Allusions
  • Religion
  • Flannery O’Connor
Date of Defense 2006-04-14
Availability unrestricted
This thesis examines the way Flannery O’Connor’s stories draw upon and transfigure various biblical texts. With sometimes shocking freedom, she twists open the original stories or references, reworking and redistributing their basic elements. Often reversing the polarity of the original stories, O’Connor’s stories dramatize elements of biblical texts coming alive in different times and social settings and with quite different outcomes. At the same time, her stories still address many of the same issues as the biblical texts she transforms.

This study focuses on three O’Connor stories: “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” which reworks the story of the rich young ruler in Matthew 19, Mark 10, and Luke 18; “Parker’s Back,” which transforms elements of Moses’ encounter with the burning bush in Exodus juxtaposed with Saul’s conversion experience in Acts 9; and “Judgment Day,” which interacts with portions of Paul’s descriptions of the resurrection of the dead in 1 Corinthians 15. This study draws upon the work of theologically-oriented O’Connor scholars, as well as O’Connor’s own letters and essays. I hope, through this approach, to open up a new way of responding to O’Connor’s biblical echoes.

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