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The Displaced Person

The Displaced Person


by Flannery O'Connor

The Displaced Person Theme of Religion

Flannery O'Connor was conscious of being a "Catholic Writer in the Protestant South" (that's the title of one of her essays). "The Displaced Person," like all of O'Connor's stories, is written from a distinctly Catholic viewpoint. One of O'Connor's stated goals of her fiction was to share her religious vision with her readers. This doesn't mean that you have to be religious to appreciate the story or to wonder at her complicated viewpoint. She uses religion to explore a number of compelling issues, including poverty, racism, and immigration.

Questions About Religion

  1. If you are religious, how does your religious vision compare to O'Connor's, as presented in the story? Try to frame your answer with examples from the story.
  2. If you aren't religious, can you still relate to this story? Why or why not?
  3. What are some of the religious symbols in the story, and what does O'Connor do with them?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Mrs. Shortley experiences a religious transformation just before her death.

Father Flynn abuses his authority by forcing his religious beliefs on Mrs. McIntyre when she can't protest or leave.

The Priest is doing his religious duty by preaching to Mrs. McIntyre, whether she likes it or not.

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