A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O'Connor

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By Flannery O'Connor

The gathering that demonstrated O’Connor’s attractiveness as one of many American masters of the quick tale. the amount includes the distinguished name tale, a story of the murderous fugitive The Misfit, in addition to “The Displaced Person” and 8 different tales.

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In a felicitous instance of similarity across scale, Trim’s “The Story of the king of Bohemia and his seven castles” replicates in miniature the overall narrative movement of the text itself. Trim’s story never gets beyond the title (set off in the text four times, the last three with the inaccurate addition “continued”) and the first incomplete sentence, and it ends up being displaced by Toby’s history of gunpowder and Trim’s history of his amours with the Fair Beguine, whose climax (literal and figurative) is interrupted by Toby’s unwittingly periphrastic comment about what Trim must have done once his “passion rose to the highest pitch”—that is, clap the Beguine’s hand to 42 NARRATIVE FORM AND CHAOS THEORY his lips and make a speech (375).

For Johnson, the literary text is “static,” fixed in its meaning. It is simply a product and, as such, it cannot be a system. ” Granted, the structure of a traditional narrative is static in that readers deal with a printed text “dictated from the outside,” but 22 NARRATIVE FORM AND CHAOS THEORY if we replace the word “structure” with Paul Ricoeur’s more apt “structuration,” the dynamics of narrative emerges. ”70 Narrative structuration is an ongoing dynamical process, not a fixed product, as Johnson envisions it.

By starting with a different set of initial conditions, dynamicists may set the trajectory going at a different place in the attractor’s evolution, but the emergent pattern will nonetheless always reveal the particular attractor to which a particular dynamical system tends within the parameters. These parameters effectually constitute an interpretation of the data. Dynamicists may change them: for example, in the dripping faucet simulation, they may vary the parameters in the equations for elasticity, viscosity, or force of gravity.

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