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The Displaced Person

The Displaced Person


by Flannery O'Connor

The Displaced Person Theme of Warfare

Thought the exact dates are hazy, "The Displaced Person" is set either during or just after World War II, probably in the early 1940s. The story begins when the Guizacs, a Polish immigrant family, arrive at Mrs. McIntyre's farm in the southern United States. One of the main characters, Mrs. Shortley, fears that the Guizacs have somehow carried the horrors of the war with them, the way a rat would flees. Ironically, all the makings of small-scale war are already present on the McIntyre farm, and the place quickly erupts into a battlefield, with tragic results.

Questions About Warfare

  1. How does World War II affect the Guizac family? Does the Guizacs' Catholic faith have anything to do with this?
  2. Would it make a difference to your reading if the story happens before 1945 versus after 1945? Why or why not?

Chew on This

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

Mrs. McIntyre's farm becomes a battlefield that resembles, on a small scale, a World War II battleground.

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