International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

O’Connor’s Subversion of the Country-as-Eden Myth
Margaret E. Mahoney,

Some O’Connor critics argue that O’Connor views the country and rural life in an optimistic manner, often using “The Artificial Nigger” and ”A Circle of Fire” to support this position. I believe alternative readings of Wise Blood, “The Artificial Nigger, “A Circle of Fire,” “Good Country People,” and “A View of the Woods,” provide instead, examples of O’Connor’s perspective which subverts the country-as-Eden-myth. Wise Blood, “The Artificial Nigger” and “A View of the Woods” offer the view that the values and virtues of rural life are insufficient and inadequate preparation for city life. “A Circle of Fire” and “Good Country People” indicates that the country is not a refuge or a sanctuary, nor a place of singular beauty, but rather a place that harbors sin and death. Using these stories, O’Connor shows that sustaining the agrarian myth brings death and destruction for everyone.

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