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Reconsidering Flannery O'Connor$
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Alison Arant and Jordan Cofer

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781496831798

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2021

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496831798.001.0001

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Flannery O’Connor and the Fascist Business: Plurality and the Possibility of Community

Flannery O’Connor and the Fascist Business: Plurality and the Possibility of Community

Chapter:
(p.140) Flannery O’Connor and the Fascist Business: Plurality and the Possibility of Community
Source:
Reconsidering Flannery O'Connor
Author(s):

Alison Staudinger

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496831798.003.0010

Recognizing O’Connor’s relevance as a political thinker, Political Scientist Alison Staudinger puts O’Connor in dialogue with Hannah Arendt in order to explore O’Connor’s approach to fascism, a pressing subject in the author’s Cold War context, as well as in our contemporary political moment. By engaging Arendt, Staudinger examines O’Connor’s relationship with fascism on three levels—as the practice of the artist, as the worldview of some fictional characters, and as an approach to her personal friendships. Staudinger argues that while O’Connor sees the temptations of fascism, she finally rejects it as a totalizing denial of human plurality. Staudinger suggests that O’Connor falls short of depicting an earthly community that could accept this plurality, especially regarding racial equality; at the same time she points out that O’Connor’s fiction demonstrates how it is the country’s deep-seated racial hierarchy that makes it vulnerable to fascism.

Keywords:   Hannah Arendt, Fascism, Totalitarianism, Political Theory, Pluralism

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