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Learning to Read the Signs: The Process of Seeing Grace with a Spiritual Vision in the Short Stories of Flannery O’Connor

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Title: Learning to Read the Signs: The Process of Seeing Grace with a Spiritual Vision in the Short Stories of Flannery O’Connor
Authors: Kawamoto, Kevin
Issue Date: 15 Jan 2014
Publisher: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract: Only Mr. Kurtz can fully appreciate the horror he envisions in the moments before his last agonizing breath, but we can be fairly certain that what he sees is substantially more mysterious and, at the same time, more revealing than the empirical reality surrounding him. As Marlow recounts in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness: I understand better the meaning of his stare, that could not see the flame of the candle, but was wide enough to embrace the whole universe, piercing enough to penetrate all the hearts that beat in darkness. He had summed up—he had judged. The horror! (149) Engulfed by a darkness that only he perceives (the light is only a foot away from his eyes, but he claims that he is in the dark), Kurtz seems finally not concerned with what is around him but rather with what is within him. His debilitated condition positions him to look inward and see the kind of person that he really is: it is a revelation so horrifying that he is ultimately reduced to an uncharacteristic inarticulateness. He is no longer capable of manipulating the world through eloquent speeches but must accept the incontrovertible darkness of his soul with " intense and hopeless despair" (147).
Pages/Duration: 58 pages
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/31766
Rights: All UHM Honors Projects are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections:Honors Projects for English



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