Power in O'Connor's The Artificial Nigger and Mason's Shiloh Essay

Power in O'Connor's The Artificial Nigger and Mason's Shiloh Essay

Length: 822 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Good Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Power in O'Connor's The Artificial Nigger and Mason's Shiloh


Flannery O'Connor's story The Artificial Nigger and Bobbie Ann Mason's story Shiloh both possess characters that excercise power . Mr. Head, the main character that exercises power in The Artificial Nigger, is an old racist man, who claims to know everything. In Mason's story, Norma Jean, a simple southern woman who wants change in her life, is the main character that exercises power. Both characters are similar in their successful exercise of power; however, the effects their power have are different.

Mr. Head's exercise of power has a negative effect on his grandson, Nelson, while Norma Jean's exercise of power serves as a way to benefit herself. Mr. Head's main focus is to make Nelson see black people as "niggers" and for Nelson to fear the city. Mr. Head's controling nature effects Nelson in a negative manner. From the beginning of the story, Mr. Head's powerful and controling personality is evident when the narrator states, "...he saw half of the moon five feet away in his shaving mirror, paused as if it were waiting to enter" (249). Mr. Head's desire to control also extends to all aspects of life. His intentions for Nelson are clear when he says, "...but I mean for him to get his fill once and for all" (254). By making Nelson feel powerless, Mr. Head steals away his innocence. Before influencing his grandson, Nelson's description of a black man is "'A man,'" but later in the story Nelson begins to see black people as "niggers," just like his grandfather (255). Fearing the city, also has a negative effect on Nelson. He holds pride in being born in Atlanta, but his grandfather wants to teach Nelson that "he had no cause for pride merely because he had been...


... middle of paper ...


...aking classes, she is able to slowly but surely find her independence again. Norma Jean finally tells her husband that she wants to leave him because she does not want to "...feel eighteen again" (500). By leaving Leroy and starting a new life, Norma Jean is able to forget the pain and embarassment she felt many years ago. The power she possesses enables her to succeed in her wish to move on.

The characters in both stories have similarities and differences. Mr. Head and Norma Jean use their power to get what they want. Both are similar because they are successful in exercising their power and are different becausse their power has different effects. Mr. Head thrives on control and succeeds in his plan to control his grandson. Norma Jean works at self-improvemennt so that she can leave her husband and continue to live the life that she has longed for.

 

 

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on The Struggle in Shiloh by Bobbie Ann Mason

- Leroy and Norma Jean in the short story, “Shiloh” by Bobbie Ann Mason, are a married couple, and they experience a series of events, which shapes them and determines there future. The final setting, Shiloh, works well to highlight the battles of war to the battles between Norma Jean and Leroy. Throughout the story Mason is focused on the persistency of grief, the instability of gender roles, along with the distance and lack of communication separating Leroy and Norma Jean from each other....   [tags: Bobbi Ann Mason, Shiloh]

Good Essays
1156 words (3.3 pages)

Shiloh by Bobbie Ann Mason Essay

-      The setting in the short story “Shiloh” by Bobbie Ann Mason works well to accentuate the theme of the story. The theme portrayed by Mason is that most people change along with their environment, with the exception of the few who are unwilling to adapt making it difficult for things such as marriage to work out successfully. These difficulties are apparent in Norma Jean and Leroy’s marriage. As Norma Jean advances herself, their marriage ultimately collapses due to Leroy’s unwillingness to adapt with her and the changing environment....   [tags: Shiloh by Bobbie Ann Mason]

Good Essays
560 words (1.6 pages)

Shiloh by Bobbie Ann Mason Essay

- Shiloh by Bobbie Ann Mason Character Sketch      In Bobbie Ann Mason’s story “Shiloh” she presents the character of Norma Jean as having a strong personality but an emptiness deep within. Norma Jean is presented as a strong character on the outside in the opening of the story. “She lifts three-pound dumbbells to warm-up, the progresses to a twenty-pound barbell.”(Mason p. 46). However as the story progresses she exhibits the emptiness which she feels. “One day Leroy arrives home from a drive and finds Norma Jean in tears.” (Mason p....   [tags: Shiloh Bobbie Ann Mason Essays]

Good Essays
735 words (2.1 pages)

Role of Parents in Morrison's Recitatif and O'Connor's The Artificial Nigger

- Role of Parents in Morrison's Recitatif and O'Connor's The Artificial Nigger         Parental figures in Toni Morrison's "Recitatif" and Flannery O'Connor's "The Artificial Nigger" use indoctrination in an attempt to uphold tradition and reinforce racial boundaries. While one adult influence fulfills the mission entirely, the other must settle for inconstant, recurrent success and ultimate failure.   In "Recitatif" and "The Artificial Nigger" a mother and a grandfather, respectively, with too much responsibility seek to alter the lives of two children for the worst....   [tags: Artificial Nigger Essays]

Good Essays
1161 words (3.3 pages)

An Analysis of the First Paragraph of O’Connor’s The Artificial Nigger Essay

- An Analysis of the First Paragraph of O’Connor’s The Artificial Nigger ?In “The Artificial Nigger,” Flannery O’Connor commingles characteristic Christian imagery with themes evocative of her Southern setting. In this essay, a close reading of the first paragraph of this story elucidates the subtle ways in which O’Connor sets up these basic themes of redemption and forgiveness. An additional paragraph will examine the ramifications of this reading on the intertwined racial aspects of the story, which are connected by a common theme of master/servant imagery, which is integral to the first paragraph....   [tags: O'Connor Artificial Nigger]

Good Essays
1052 words (3 pages)

Essay about Grandson’s Lesson in Flannery O’Connor’s The Artificial Nigger

- Grandson’s Lesson in Flannery O’Connor’s The Artificial Nigger “He’s never seen anything before,” Mr. Head continued. “Ignorant as the day he was born, but I mean for him to get his fill once and for all.” P.254 This quote which comes early in the text of Flannery O’Connor’s “The Artificial Nigger,” is of great significance for understanding this novel as a whole. The quote comes from the beginning of this short story when the Grandfather (Mr. Head) is on the train with his grandson (Nelson)....   [tags: O’Connor’s Artificial Nigger]

Free Essays
563 words (1.6 pages)

Gender Roles in Alice Munro’s "Boys and Girls" and Bobbie Ann Mason’s "Shiloh"

- Up until recently, the definition of what a man or a woman should be has been defined, with boundaries, by society; males should be strong, dominant figures and in the workplace providing for their families while females should be weak and submissive, dealing with cleaning, cooking and children. Any veering away from these definitions would have disrupted the balance of culture completely. A man playing housewife was absurd, and a woman being the sole provider for the family bizarre. In Alice Munro’s short story “Boys and Girls” and Bobbie Ann Mason’s “Shiloh”, conflict arises when expectations based on gender are not fulfilled by the characters....   [tags: Boys and Girls, Shiloh]

Good Essays
1071 words (3.1 pages)

Shiloh by Bobbie Ann Mason Essay

- Shiloh by Bobbie Ann Mason In the short story titled "Shiloh", Bobbie Ann Mason does an extremely effective job of getting her message across. This story is about a couple that gets married a young age that probably was not ready to be married. They experience a series of events, which shape them and determined there future. The author in this story does a fabulous job because this story was easy to read and understand. "Shiloh" was written in 1982 so the story plot isn't old and hard to grasp....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
627 words (1.8 pages)

Shiloh by Bobby Ann Mason Essay

- Shiloh by Bobby Ann Mason In Bobby Ann Mason's "Shiloh",Leroy and Norma Jean Moffit are involved in a very ordinary yet dysfunctional marriage. They have both spent their entire lives in Kentucky and have been surrouded by the same people for most of their lives. They married when they were eighteen becuase Norma Jean was pregnant with their son Randy. Randy died just a few months after he was born, which left a lasting, but unspoken impression on their marriage. Leroy was a truck driver up until four months ago when he got into an accident and he could no longer drive his rig....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
424 words (1.2 pages)

Bobbie Ann Mason's Shiloh Essay

- Bobbie Ann Mason's Shiloh In the story "Shiloh" by Bobbie Ann Mason, The reader gets different points of view and different feelings about the characters and the story. In this story the narrator explains how time and distance can create a gap between two people. It also talks about how naïve Leroy really is and also how self-centered he is. It allows the reader to understand that sometimes in doing something good people could be doing something that hurts others. This story reveals to the reader how distance and low communication can separate individuals from each other....   [tags: Papers]

Good Essays
678 words (1.9 pages)