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Southern Literature in Sweat, a Good Man and Story of an Hour

  • Date Submitted: 04/12/2010 09:08 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 55.6 
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Southern Literature is considered a sub-genre in American literature because of its way of incorporating recurring themes such as dialect, importance of family, town history, rural setting and many more. The stories “A Good Man” by Flannery O’Conner, “Sweat” by Zora Neal Hurston and “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin are all written in this southern style and contain similar elements such as patriarchal relationships, a character coming to some kind of realization or self-actualization and death.

Moreover, character realization and self-actualization was also a major theme in these stories. During some part of these stories, usually the main character realizes something important about themselves that changes their perspective and causes them to react differently than they normally would. In “A Good Man”, the grandmother realizes in the end that she needs to be forgiven in order to achieve grace before she dies. “Why you’re one of my babies. You’re one of my own children!” (O’Conner 384). In this scene the grandmother yells out that her murderer is one of her “children” because she grasps the fact that begging for her life is no longer an option, she therefore turns to love. Also in “Sweat”, Delia finally rebels against and stands up to her husband after she has had enough of his abuse, “She seized the iron skillet from the stove and struck a defensive pose, which act surprised him greatly, coming from her” (Hurston 320). Furthermore, in “The Story of an Hour”, after her husband has “died”, instead of mourning, Mrs. Mallard comes to the realization that she is now free from her marriage and free to do what she wants with her life without anyone restricting her, “There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself” (Chopin 17). This quote demonstrates her self-actualization; she experiences joy and relief at the news of her husband’s death to her own surprise.
Lastly, and most importantly, death is a definite...

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