eng266 essay 2

Eng266 essay 2 - Alex Shields ENG 266 Section 8 Essay 2 Faulkner and O'Connor Share Similar Views on the American Heartland When analyzing the

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Alex Shields ENG 266 Section 8 Essay 2 Faulkner and O’Connor Share Similar Views on the American Heartland When analyzing the American heartland in literature an image of hardworking kind people comes to mind. It is a place where family is second only to God and where the kindness of people reflects on their treatment of others. Both William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor wrote short stories centered on families living in the heartland of America. Faulkner’s story, Barn Burning , focuses on the fall of a family through the prideful misdeeds of a troubled father. O’Connor’s piece, Good Country People , revolves more around the prideful assumptions of an individual. Throughout both stories, several common factors emerge. The social status of the characters in both stories plays a great deal in their struggles. For Good Country People , Hulga’s sense of intellectual superiority leads to a young man taking advantage of her. Comparatively, in Barn Burning, Abner’s sense of entitlement leads to the apparent loss of his life. Both stories have characters that tend to take people at face value. Another common theme is the value of worldly experience outweighing intellectualism. Differences among the stories are not as numerous. Faulkner focuses more on the idea of the family. His characters are tightly joined and must face their struggles together. O’Connor writes about the individual free spirit of Hulga. While Faulkner and O’Connor take two very different approaches on illustrating the American heartland, their themes and the actions of their characters closely coincide with each other.
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Pride is the most dominant similarity throughout the two stories. Abner, the cause of his family’s woes, is on a constant quest to bring those above him down to his level. This is obvious from the first scene in the story. When being threatened by a superior, he sent his Negro worker with the cryptic “wood and hay kin burn” message before burning down the barn of his employer. He continues his ways by ruining the carpet of his new employer for simply having a nice house. Finally, he attempts to burn down Major de Spain’s barn but is foiled by Sarty. Sarty is also a subject of pride. He fights other boys to protect his father’s name and takes great offense to the class trash thrown by de Spain. Hulga’s intellectual successes often lead to her looking down at those around her. She treats her mother as an inferior, even going so far as to mention French philosophers in arguments in an attempt to make her mother feel small. (O’Connor pg. 2533)
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This note was uploaded on 04/09/2008 for the course ENG 266 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at N.C. State.

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Eng266 essay 2 - Alex Shields ENG 266 Section 8 Essay 2 Faulkner and O'Connor Share Similar Views on the American Heartland When analyzing the

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