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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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“Herself but Black”: Richard Wright, Flannery O’Connor, and the “Near Enemy” of Civil Rights

“Herself but Black”: Richard Wright, Flannery O’Connor, and the “Near Enemy” of Civil Rights

Chapter:
(p.162) “Herself but Black”: Richard Wright, Flannery O’Connor, and the “Near Enemy” of Civil Rights
Source:
Reconsidering Flannery O'Connor
Author(s):

Rachel Watson

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496831798.003.0011

Rachel Watson takes up O’Connor’s role as a political thinker and writer by examining issues of racial hierarchy in O’Connor’s fiction and putting her work in conversation with that of Richard Wright. Watson notes that although O’Connor invokes the “manners” of the Jim Crow South, she does not offer a sentimental or abject form of pity for her characters, regardless of their race. It is in this pity, so often connected with Cold War totalitarianism, that Watson finds a connection between the work of Flannery O’Connor and Richard Wright. This chapter shows the commonality between two authors whose work had previously seemed disparate, as Watson highlights their mutual fear of a racial and economic hegemony. 

Keywords:   Richard Wright, Civil Rights, Totalitarianism, Pity, Cold War

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