Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Bernard C. O'Halloran


Sr. Helena Monahan


Sr. Ann Semel


The purpose of this study is to integrate seemingly disparate and divergent criticisms of Flannery O'Connor's short stories. The method chosen to achieve this end involves comparison of selected short stories with the parables of Jesus. Criticism of both parables and short stories will be compared in order to find simularity of characteristics, function, theme, and artistic intent. The characteristics will be compared to determine what simularities can be found in the internal mechanisms of the stories; in plot, in structure, in characters, in setting, and in those elements which seem to defy what otherwise looks like realism. The function of the parables will be applied to the stories to determine if both fictions have the same or similar effect on the reader, and to determine whether any common themes can be found in the works of the two writers. Finally, the works of the two authors will be compared for simularity in literary qualities or intent. This study will focus on recent parabolic study, critical opinion on O'Connor, pertinent essays by O'Connor, and four representative stories. From this data will be drawn some tentative conclusions and recommendations for further study.