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Flannery O’Connor grew up with a loving and supportive father, so it is perplexing that she fills her stories with fathers who portray the opposite. O’Connor’s fictional fathers, when they are included in the story, are controlling, harsh, and malicious—the complete opposite of her father, Edward O’Connor. Why would O’Connor create fathers whose image so intensely contrast that of her own supportive, gentle, and loving father? My purpose in this paper is to examine O’Connor’s fictional fathers in her short stories, “The Artificial N” and “The Comforts of Home,” and her novel, The Violent Bear It Away, and attempt to explain the contradiction that arises when comparing her real father to her fictional fathers.


This paper was presented as part of the English capstone course, Senior Literature Seminar, taught by Dr. Amy Sonheim.