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Analyzing O'Connor and her story, "Revelation"; what does this title say about the...

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megatron10 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 12, 2012 at 7:08 AM via web

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Analyzing O'Connor and her story, "Revelation"; what does this title say about the story's theme?

I am not fully comprehending the "religious points" in this story and would like a better understanding of it, it is possible.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 31, 2013 at 8:19 PM (Answer #1)

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The word “revelation” can have a double meaning.  First of all, it means a personal revelation.  Second of all, it means a religious experience.

There is evidence that Mrs. Turpin had a religious experience.  The double meaning of the title is part of the double meaning of the story.  You can either assume that Mrs. Turpin did have a revelation, or she didn’t.  The title could be literal or ironic.

Perhaps the most significant evidence for the religion theory is Mrs. Turpin’s reaction after the book has hit her in the head.  She is waiting for the girl to tell her something as if receiving a message from God.

"What you got to say to me?" she asked hoarsely and held her breath, waiting, as for a revelation

It is at this point that the girl tells her to go back to Hell.  This is again more religious terminology.  Even the use of “wart” seems to evoke imagery of the Devil.

There is evidence that Mrs. Turpin had a religious experience.  She describes the fat girl as able to “know her in some intense and personal way, beyond time and place and condition” when she speaks to her.  This seems to imply more than a simple message from a stranger.  She also says that she cannot ignore the message.  When she is in the garden, she seems to have a religious vision inspired by the message.

On the other hand, the name of the book the girl is reading is “Human Development” and this also seems to imply that Mrs. Turpin is growing as a person.  The girl thus takes on more of the role of a psychiatrist, correctly Mrs. Turpin’s unwanted behaviors.

The meaning of the title is connected to the deeper meaning of Mrs. Turpin’s transformation either way.  There is enough religious imagery to assume a religious connection.  In the end, it is up to the reader to decide if she changed, or how she changed.

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