Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School



When man's view of himself as a being in his universe changes with the tide of events, literary conventions change as well. There is very little in contemporary life that would contradict the assumption that man's view of himself and of his world is no longer governed by the assurance of reason or the confidence of prediction. When certainty of man's place in the universe was commonly accepted, for instance in the eighteenth-century, this assurance was reflected in a literature which was essentially rational and ordered. In the last two centuries, drastic upheavals in the course of human events have shaken, even shattered, the certainties of human existence; modern life seems characterized by the irrational and the violent. Today, it is not uncommon to feel certainty only in uncertainty, as paradoxical as that may appear. Modern literature has not escaped the effects of the apparent disintegration of any reasonable and fundamental world view. In the works of many modern writers, including the subject of this thesis, Flannery O'Connor, the impact of this change upon the artist is readily discernible in a marked preference for the use of the grotesque as a literary technique. Because of her limited literary output in her short life span, Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964) may never be ranked among the major Southern writers; she did, however, in her even shorter writing span, create a great deal of interest and puzzlement among her readers and critics. Perhaps it is only with the important "minor" figures in American

Library of Congress Subject Headings

O'Connor, Flannery


South Dakota State University Theses



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University