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The Comforts of Home by Flannery O' Connor

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Margaret Geanacopoulos

on 11 December 2013

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Transcript of The Comforts of Home by Flannery O' Connor

The Comforts of Home by Flannery O' Connor
Characterization of Mother
Characterization of Sarah
• She is a flirt and on several occasions she tries to flirt with Thomas.
• Thomas rejects her
• When he puts the gun in Sarah’s purse the narrator tells the reader that Thomas “grabbed the red pocketbook. It had a skin-like feel to his touch and as it opened he caught an unmistakable odor of the girl. Wincing he thrust in the gun and then drew back. (O' Connor 402)” – could represent sexual contact
• Thomas is speechless when Sarah flirts with him when he is driving her back to the house- unable to handle Sarah, again the idea of Thomas repressing his sexual desires, or it could also be a result of Thomas being socially isolated, not knowing how to interacting and deal with certain situations
Characterization of Thomas
Thematic Ideas and Literary Elements
Charity: the mother provides for her son who is living with her and the girl, Sarah, who she also allows to live under her roof
Judgment: Both Thomas and his mother are guilty of judging people. Thomas sees or the bad in the people, while his mother is the opposite. She tries to find the good in a person. So they both judge people without truly knowing the person
Isolation: Thomas is described as looking out the window when his mother brings Sarah home
Thomas fears that Sarah will harm his mother and take advantage of her generosity, but Thomas ends up killing his mother
Sarah never does anything wrong to the mother, only Thomas does
Thomas believed that “He was doing what he was doing what he was doing for her own good, to rid her of a parasite that would ruin their peace,”
In trying to help his mother, he kills her
Thomas seemed to dislike his father and resent his ruthlessness, but at the end of the story, Thomas essentially becomes his father
Thomas continued
Margaret, Jessica, Alexis, Kendall
Characterization of Thomas:
• 35 years old
• Still lives with his mother
• Hypocritical
- He still lives with his mother, yet accuses Sarah of taking advantage of her
• Scholarly- historian
- Leads to sense of superiority
• Has a split personality which conflicts with being like his generous but impractical mother, or strict overly practical father

Flannery O' Connor lived with her mother for the majority of her lifetime. She had a dependent relationship with her mother,as her mother made many decisions for her. This reflects the strong and influential female characters in her story.
Characters are easily influenced by strong female characters, and their actions have negative consequences.
Male dependance on maternal characters, but take them for granted
ex: The Comforts of Home, A Good Man is Hard to Find, Everything That Rises Must Converge, Parker's Back.
Similarities to other O' Connor stories
Relation to O' Connor's Own Life?
• Over time he becomes more like father, as he hears his father speaking in his thoughts
- How Thomas said his father would react, yet how Thomas himself reacts in the end
• Right before Thomas shoots his mother accidently instead of Sarah, the mother recognizes her husband’s presence in Thomas

- a widow
- morally virtuous
- shows great charity to Sarah by letting her stay with them
- judgmental: judges people before she knows them, tries to find the good in everybody
- viewed by Thomas as "idiotic"
- sacrifices herself to save a woman she hardly knows --> moral virtue
Full transcript