Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Flannery O'Connor's Last Short Story "Judgement Day"

"Judgement Day" by Flannery O'Connor (1965, 14 pages)

The Irish Quarter Welcomes Flannery O'Connor
A Celebration of the Irish Short Story
March 11 to July 1

1925 - 1964

Please consider joining us for this event.     Everything you need to participate is in the resources page, including links to 1000s of short stories, from brand new ones to stories now in the public domain.   Guests posts are also welcome.   

Today I welcome a wonderful guest to the Irish Corner, Flannery O'Connor, from Savannah, Georgia in the southern portion of the United States.   Sometimes people say they do not like short stories because they do not give them enough "meat" to sink their teeth into.   I would venture that no one who reads even a few of Flannery O'Connor's short stories would make such a claim.   Kenzaburo Oe, one of our other guests, treated her work as if they were holy texts, to be read over and over in a futile attempt to get to the bottom of them.  There are lots of Irish American authors of great short stories from F Scott Fitzgerald on down but no one, in my opinion, is on a par with Flannery O'Connor.   (There is some background information on her in my prior posts.)

As I began to read through her posthumous collection, The Complete Short Stories of Flannery O'Connor, my plan was to post on each story.   After seven stories I gave up that idea as something I was not up to, and this is not from the modesty which I do not have anyway.    I do know that there is a big interest in Flannery O'Connor out there as of the 1050 posts on The Reading Life, my few posts on her are often the top viewed posts of the day.   

"Judgement Day" is, as I knew it would be, a powerful work with many layers of meaning.  (Teachers will have to decide of if this story can be taught in school as it does contain political incorrect language, though the language is a replica of the speech of the time and central to the meaning of the story.)  O'Connor was a devout Catholic and there is deep religious symbolism in this story but it requires no acceptance of any religious code for its power, if it did that would diminish the power of the story considerably.   The central figure in the story is an older white man from Georgia whose daughter has taken to live with her in New York City.  He hated in there from the very first day.   One morning he overhears his son-in-law ask his daughter "Where do you plan to bury him?".   When he hears the plan is to bury him right there in New York City, he decides to ship himself home collect in a sealed box, on a train.  as that is all he can afford.    I just do not see a point in telling the plot of this story.   It goes deep into race relations, regional attitudes, mother father dynamics, reflections on the nature of the judgement day and no doubt numerous things that go quite over my head.    

Mel u


@parridhlantern said...

Will one day read some, as i'm developing more of an interest in short stories, probably down to your continued support of the format.

Anonymous said...

This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger.
I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your great post.
Also, I've shared your website in my social networks!