Two Sides To Every Story Essay Research

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Two Sides To Every Story Essay, Research Paper Two Sides to Every Story Flannery O Connor s short story Revelation is the perfect example of dramatic irony. O Connor gives us, the reader, an insight into two sides of the central character, Ruby Turpin. Ruby Turpin sees herself as a kind person with a good disposition. As a reader we can see a very different side of Ruby Turpin. Ruby Turpin sees herself as a respectable, hard-working, church-going woman. (Pg. 989) Ruby Turpin measures all things and sees all people through the frame of her own ego. Ruby likes to wonder what type of person she would have chosen to be if she couldn t have been herself. She would have wiggled and squirmed and begged and pleaded (Pg. 981) not to have been made a nigger or white trash (Pg. 981).

Another of her intellectual hobbies is to classify others. O Connor writes Mrs. Turpin occupied herself at night naming the classes of people (Pg. 981). Ruby Turpin s classifications of others are based solely on her standards of acceptability. She is especially critical of blacks and people she sees as poor white trash. On Ruby Turpin s social scale colored people are on the bottom of the heap (Pg. 981). Then next to them–not above, just away from–were the white trash; then above them were the home-owners, and above them the home-and-land owners, to which she and Claud belonged. Above she and Claud were people with a lot of money and much bigger houses and much more land (Pg. 981-982). Ruby Turpin clings to her good works and her social class as a badge of worthiness. She

says her philosophy of life is to help anybody out that needed it (Pg. 985) She never spared herself when she found somebody in need, whether they were white or black, trash or decent (Pg. 985) Flannery O Connor uses the hog as a symbol of unredeemed human nature. Just as no amount of cleansing will ever change the essence of the hog, no amount of good works or intellectual justification will change the nature of human beings. Ruby fails to see a common denominator between her fallen humanity and that of blacks, poor white trash, freaks, and lunatics. Ruby Turpin s nosy judgments on other social groups can be seen as the equivalent of the hog s a-gruntin and a-rootin all over the place (Pg. 983). In a sense, Ruby has assumed the role of God and anointed herself as the ultimate

judge of human behavior. Ruby Turpin believes herself blessed by god because He had not made her a nigger or white-trash or ugly! He had made her herself and given her a little of everything (Pg.985-986). She thanks the Lord that she has been blessed with a good disposition. But as a reader we can see that behind this mask of self-righteousness is a level of social snobbery and racism that makes her stereotypical comments on others reek of hypocrisy. Ruby Turpin s fall from her perch of judgment is predictable, but it comes in a rather unexpectedly violent manner. She is struck in the head by a heavy college textbook, Human Development (Pg. 980), and knocked almost unconscious. The book itself can perhaps be seen as a symbol of a lesson she needs to learn. This blow awakens Ruby

Turpin to the inner world of other people and helps her to realize that they are just as free as she is to stereotype and categorize according to subjective whims. Then, to her horror, she learns that the college girl who threw the book sees her as a wart-hog from hell (Pg. 989). The college girl s tirade can be seen as the voice of the prophet who brings a revelation to Ruby Turpin. Ruby tries to deny that the girl s message was meant for her but she realizes that the girl s eyes and her words, even the tone of her voice brooked no redemption. She had been singled out for the message (Pg. 989). It is only after Ruby gets hit in the head with the book and nearly strangled that she begins to apply the college girl s prophetic vision to her own life. We can only hope that she will