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Flannery O'Connor's Short Story "revelation"

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Flannery O'Connor's short story "Revelation" is about an arrogant, self-righteous, bigoted and judgmental woman whose life was impacted by a violent act. This caused her to contemplate and then experience a vision that gave her an entirely different view of what she thought her life was all about. The themes of spirituality, fate and justice are prevalent in this story. The protagonist in this story, an old woman named Mrs. Turpin, sowed seeds of arrogance and judgment throughout her life. She hated and judged others because of their social class or skin color, but in the end, learned that these things were not important at all. The various themes and symbols used in "Revelation" lead the story to the culmination of Mrs. Turpin's awakening and vision of her own judgment day. Turpin finally realizes how judgmental and harsh she was on her fellow man. While there does not seem to be a true climax to this story, there certainly is a culmination of events illustrated through definite symbols that lead one to believe that Turpin has the realization she needed to turn her life around as well as the revelation for the reader that regardless of race, physical beauty or social class, we will all be judged equally.

Learning an important life lesson was the strongest underlying theme in "Revelation". This theme is a message to those who judge others. Mrs. Turpin judged others throughout her life and finally through her vision came to realize that the people she was judging were those moving on to heaven and she was the one left behind, perhaps even in purgatory. O'Connor launches a description of Mrs. Turpin from the beginning of the story, "with her little bright black eyes took in all the patients as she sized up the seating situation." From that moment on, Mrs. Turpin goes around the small room harshly judging others by their social class and race. The story tells about the extreme judgmental ways of Mrs. Turpin by revealing how she occupies herself at night by naming the classes of people when she cannot sleep. Mrs. Turpin even thanks God she has a wonderful life and is not "white trash" or a "nigger." When attacked by an obese, acne riddled teenaged girl in a doctor's waiting room, she finally pauses to think about her ways. Here she finally seems to realize she is receiving judgment in the same harsh manner that she had portrayed in her daily life.

O'Connor offers several symbols that all lead to Mrs. Turpin's self awareness of her bigoted and judgmental ways. During Mrs. Turpin's encounter with Mary Grace (the obese teen) , O'Connor describes how Mrs. Turpin's view suddenly reverses itself and that she was now seeing everything large instead of small. Also, the symbolism of the teen's name cannot be overlooked here, Mary Grace. Turpin's obvious lack of virtues that the Mary portrayed in

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