The Displaced Person
by Flannery O'Connor
The Displaced Person Theme of Foreignness and 'the Other'
In "The Displaced Person," Flannery O'Connor focuses on how the arrival the Guizac family –a family that has fled Poland during or soon after World War II – impacts the small farm where they take shelter. O'Connor uses extreme characters with extreme prejudices to show us what can happen when we focus on the differences between ourselves and others, instead of on the things we have in common.
Questions About Foreignness and 'the Other'
- Does this story make any arguments with regard to immigration? If so, what are the arguments? Do you agree with them?
- Mrs. Shortley expresses various fears and anxieties with respect to foreigners in general and the Guizacs in particular. What are some of these fears and anxieties? What might be the basis for her fears? Can you see these kinds of fears and anxiety today?
Chew on This
The newsreel of Holocaust images that Mrs. Shortley sees is an inroad to discussing how news and media images of foreign places impacts anti-immigrant sentiment during World War II.