Flanney O Connor and the Prodigal Son
Flannery O’Connor and the Prodigal Son Flannery O’Connor, author of the short story “Revelation”, writes about characters that discover their world is not as they believe and that things are truly the opposite of how they appear. There are many moments of enlightenment in her story “Revelation”, as well as in the parable of the Prodigal Son. I will attempt to interpret this story as I think O’Connor would. In the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), there is a man with two sons. When the sons grow up, the younger asks his father for his inheritance and goes off to experience life.
This is an outrageous decision on the son’s behalf. He is going against his father’s rules and ideas. He spends all his family’s hard earned money indulging on parties, women and material objects. He tries to survive on his own before going home and works on a pig farm and feeds from the pigs’ food and encounters other desperate situations. When he arrives home, his father has the fattest lamb killed and he has a party honoring his return. When the older brother learns of all the attention his brother is receiving, he becomes very frustrated and jealous. The parable raises important questions.
For example, was it right for the younger brother to take all his money and leave? I found myself sympathizing with him more than the one that stayed home. Even though he went against his father’s wishes and blew all his money on parties, he ventured out to new territories and new experiences. He wasn’t afraid to take a risk and see the world. Of course this was very frowned upon and almost unheard of, he spent all his money on frivolous things and went against his father and left behind all his duties. He wasn’t considering his future and didn’t have his priorities straight.
Instead, the other son stayed home and followed his father’s wishes. With his future in mind, he chose to stay at his father’s house and live comfortably instead of venturing out. He was making something out of his life by helping his father run the estate. Despite this I believe the younger son was the more mature of the two. He realized he wasn’t ready to be on his own after learning the hard way and he accepted that he has committed a big mistake. I understand why the father would feel proud to see his son maturing and learning from his mistakes. He returned very humble and in a transformed into a man.
In “Revelation” there is a very stubborn and close-minded character, mrs Turpin. That is just like the brother that stayed home and followed his father’s rules when becomes very frustrated upon his brother’s arrival. In this, I believe he was erroneous. He should be celebrating that his brother is back and that he is in good health I believe that Flannery O’Connor would agree with me when I say that this is what is going to lead to this son’s revelation. He gets frustrated with the idea that his brother gets more attention even though his brother went against his father’s will, while he followed all of his rules and stayed home.
Like Mrs. Turpin, in “Revelation”, realizes that she was wrong about her judgments on people and her situation in society. The older brother and Mrs. Turpin both are about to undergo a life changing revelation. She has a revelation and realizes that she isn’t better than some minorities and that in the end all people are equal. This brother has to realize the importance of family and the importance of forgiving. People must make mistakes and encounter very uncomfortable situations in order to learn and mature.
In the father’s mind, I see that forgiveness and family are more important than anything else. The broadness of his forgives is infinite. I think he does give a lot of importance to equality and justice because he treated his son that left with the same love and respect that he had for the other one. At the end of the parable the father says to the younger son, “My son, … ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we have to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. This also shows that there is another kind of revelation in this parable. The older son swallows his pride and confesses to having made a mistake; this shows that he had a realization that he wasn’t ready to part from the nest quite yet. I believe Flannery O’Connor would agree with these interpretations because people set their mind on certain beliefs and are stubborn to see things from a new perspective. When this is the case, life makes you see things differently the hard way and this changes a person’s outlook ion life drastically.
There is a lot of meaning behind this parable and it has a lot to teach us. I found myself very sympathetic and proud of the older son that left and had the guts to admit his mistake and ask for forgiveness. It takes a lot of courage and strength to go into the world alone and it takes even more humility and self-realization to admit to your mistake. I believe justice is served and both of the sons have revelations that help them grow as individuals at the end of story. Everyone deserves a second chance because we all make mistakes.