Flannery O'Connor

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In Flannery O'Connor's short story "Revelation," how are the references to hogs and pigs thematically significant?

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Flannery O’Connor uses references to pigs, hogs, and even warthogs in her story “Revelation” in various ways. Here are a number of ways in which such references are employed:

  1. The hogs are among the various material possessions in which Mrs. Turpin takes pride. Since pride is her crucial flaw (as it is, O’Connor would have said, in all human beings), Mrs. Turpin’s pride in owning hogs is just one example of her more general tendency to inflate her self-importance. In addition, the hogs are also one example of her general tendency to value material possessions over spiritual values
  2. References to hogs are among the ways by which O’Connor satirizes Mrs. Turpin’s pretensions.  When Mrs. Turpin claims, for instance, that her hogs are “‘not dirty and do not stink’” (693), most readers will laugh, for several possible reasons. In the first place, Mrs. Turpin’s claim is highly unlikely to be true. In the second place, if it is true, that fact implies that Mrs. Turpin is much too concerned with superficial cleanliness and is insufficiently concerned with the kind of spiritual cleanliness that mattered most to...

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