Abilene Campus (Residential)
Date of Award
Master of Arts
Committee Chair or Primary Advisor
Matthew Todd Womble
Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor
Third Committee Member or Committee Reader
Flannery O’Connor once wrote, “every writer, when he speaks of his own approach to fiction, hopes to show that in some crucial and deep sense, he is a realist” (MM 37). In O’Connor’s short stories she depicts her observations, with a particular eye for regional manners, of the American South and the culture of Southern hospitality. Hospitality as a culture is present within Jacques Derrida’s work, he hypothesized hospitality in two factions: conditional and unconditional. Conditional hospitality functions as a performative contradiction, leaving hospitality inherently connected with its opposite, which is hostility. Any time conditional hospitality is given to a guest and enacted by the host, hostility is incorporated within that action, creating a systemic power control between host and guest. Derrida’s notion of unconditional hospitality is separate from this created power control of conditional hospitality; however, he cannot demonstrate the reins of unconditional hospitality. Derrida believes unconditional hospitality is not fully understood and is out of our reach of comprehension. With O’Connor’s keen observance of manners and the culture of Southern hospitality, this project explores encounters in her short stories that express the manners of Southern hospitality as conditional, examining if the specific gestures creates division between and further divides insiders and outsiders. More specifically, the encounters within her works will be examined to identify the masking hostility towards her characters, in order to maintain control within gender/class, race, and religion. This project will also examine if O’Connor’s works present a new 2 narrative against conditional hospitality and a viable depiction of unconditional hospitality through grace.
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Lawson, Anna Elizabeth, "The Performance of Southern Hospitality within Flannery O’Connor" (2020). Digital Commons @ ACU, Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 218.