In "Revelation" by Flannery O'Conner, why is it appropriate that the two major settings for the action in this story are a doctor's waiting room and a "pig parlor"?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The doctor’s waiting room and pig parlor are appropriate places for Mrs. Turpin’s revelations because they are both places where she puts her needs above those of others.

In the doctor’s office, Mrs. Turpin assumes she is the most important person there.  Yet doctor’s offices cater to sick people.  Mrs. Turpin is neither the most important person nor the sickest person there. 

There was one vacant chair and a place on the sofa occupied by a blond child in a dirty blue romper who should have been told to move over and make room for the lady.

Mrs. Turpin is not sick.  She is there to accompany her husband, who got kicked by a cow.  She is just selfish, assuming she should have a spot to sit.  She could stand just as well as anyone else.

The pig parlor is an example of Mrs. Turpin’s vanity.  She is proud of the fact that her pigs are not raised like pigs.

Our hogs are not dirty and they don't stink," she said. "They're cleaner than some children I've seen. Their feet never touch the ground. We have a pig-parlor- that's where you raise them on concrete," 

Mrs. Turpin does not care how pigs are supposed to be raised, or the fact that they like cool mud.  She always puts her needs above anyone else’s.

When she returns to the pig parlor at the end of the story, the revelation from the doctor’s office has not entirely set in yet.  She is still mulling over the idea that she is not above everyone else.  She sees a light in the pig parlor.

Then like a monumental statue coming to life, she bent her head slowly and gazed, as if through the very heart of mystery, down into the pig parlor at the hogs. 

It seems as if she has fallen into a meditative state upon looking at the hogs, creatures that she does not take care of well enough.

Mrs. Turpin's vision extends to Heaven, where she sees others ascending.  These are people she has looked down upon, and people she has placed below herself.  She realizes then, in those two places, that she is just another woman.  She is no better than anyone else.

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