The Displaced Person Essay Research Paper Flannery

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The Displaced Person Essay, Research Paper Flannery O’Conner has again provided her audience a carefully woven tale with fascinating and intricate characters. “The Displaced Person” introduces the reader to some interesting characters who experience major life changes in front of the reader’s eyes. The reader ventures into the minds of two of the more complex characters in “The Displaced Person,” Mrs. McIntyre and Mrs. Shortley, and discovers an unwillingness to adapt to change. Furthermore, the intricate details of their characters are revealed throughout the story. Through these details, the reader can see that both Mrs. McIntyre and Mrs. Shortley suffer from a lack of spiritual dimension that hinders them as they face some of life’s harsher realities. Mrs.

McIntyre struggles throughout the story, most notably during the tragic conclusion. Her lack of spiritual dimension is revealed slowly until we ultimately see how her life is devastated because of it. Mrs. Shortley, on the other hand, seems to have it all figured out spiritually – or at least she believes that she does. It is only in the last few minutes of her life that she realizes all she has convinced herself of is wrong. Mrs. McIntyre is a divorced and widowed woman who has learned to depend only on her own strength during the day to day operating of her farm. She has created a comfortable world to exist in, and she fears change in that world. Mrs. McIntyre’s lack of spiritual dimension stems from this constancy of her surroundings. She has never been challenged by her

circumstances and was thus never forced to examine her spiritual beliefs and their depth. We can see her fear of change when she speaks of the peacocks. She if afraid to let them all die off because she does not want her dead husband to be upset with the change on his farm. Though he died many years ago and she had two husbands after him, Mrs. McIntyre still strives to keep things the way they were when the Judge was around. Mrs. McIntyre allows the priest to have unwarranted control of her because of her desire to preserve her farm. This allows him to persuade Mrs. McIntyre to do the unthinkable. She hires Mr. Guizac, a displaced person. Nothing could have caused a bigger change on her farm. He and his family come from Poland and bring with him many different cultural ideas.

Normally, Mrs. McIntyre would never have undertaken such a drastic change. But because the priest is able to convince her that it will be best for the farm, she concedes. Soon, he comes to visit her regularly, attempting to both convert her and persuade her to bring yet another Polish family onto her farm. Mrs. McIntyre, who has heretofore been dependent only on herself for survival, has now come to trust the priest and turns to him for advice. She seeks his council about what to do about the possibility of the Guizacs leaving her because she cannot pay them enough. He responds, “ ‘Arrrr, give them some morrre then. They have to get along.’ ” (219). Mrs. McIntyre follows his advice, betraying her only friend, Mrs. Shortley, as well as planning to fire the best family she

has ever employed. She soon discovers what an awful mistake this was. As these changing circumstances on her farm, especially the loss of Mrs. Shortley, challenge Mrs. McIntyre, her lack of spiritual dimension catches up with her. Mr. Shortley, her hired man, is able to see physical changes in her. She is getting thinner and more fidgety. Her lips would move when she was not talking. The text states, “She looked as if something was wearing her down from the inside” (245). She is having nightmares about the Displaced Person kicking her out of her own home. All these things occur because she is unable to cope with the realities of her changing circumstances alone. A stronger sense of spirituality, or at least a more diverse spiritual perspective, would have given her somewhere