This blog post is the fruition of collaborative writing and editing from students in Mrs. Holcomb’s Prayer and Spirituality class. Students in this class and Mrs. Barker’s AP Literature class attended a Master Class with former faculty members, Mrs. Sandra Tate and Mr. Ron McLachlan and have since collaborated to write and edit this post. This was a delightful practice of sharing ideas and learning from Flannery O’Connor’s short story, “Revelation.” MDS faculty strongly recommend reading the story, which you can find here.
The purpose of Homecoming week is to welcome back alumni and faculty back to Mount de Sales Academy. Mrs. Tate and Mr. McLachlan shared their perspectives on “Revelation” which we are studying in class. These teachers cared enough about MDS to return and teach current students even though they are retired. Students experienced how former teachers conducted their class and compared their methods to their current teachers.
Throughout “Revelation,” the main character, Mrs. Turpin, demonstrates O’Connor’s style of writing because she is the epitome of a stereotypical Southern Christian lady. Mrs. Turpin has a fake personality and criticizes her enemy, Mary Grace, because of her personality and appearance. Mrs. Turpin reveals her hypocritical personality towards an African American boy during one scene. In this example, O’Connor exposes the audience to the idea that even though we show a nice character towards others, we think differently on the inside.
Mrs. Turpin points out the ugly features in everyone, showing how people using “good southern manners” may be insecure and hateful on the inside. Mrs. Turpin believes that race, class, sin, and vice all have a hierarchy of most and least important, but O’Connor believes they are all equal. The tone and personality O’Connor gives Mrs. Turpin is one that demonstrates the many stereotypical characteristics of people in the early south. For example, she associates people’s worth with their rank in society.
The characters’ thoughts expose tendencies in our own thoughts. When we do the same things as Mrs. Turpin, we realize we are just as ugly as she is. We may act nicely, but our thoughts are hypocritical. The story has ideas within it that are harshly honest, but they make us think about the bad in the world. “Revelation” shows O’Connor’s belief that racism and classism are hurtful to society. Her writing exposes negative characteristics about ourselves by making us reflect on how we have each acted like Mrs. Turpin.
“Revelation” teaches students to look within themselves before judging based on appearances. “Revelation” describes a woman who has a revelation which shows us how characters can change once they experience a revelation through God. The story reminds us that sometimes what we think is right might go against what the Bible says. The story shows it is possible to change your mindset and habits.
Mrs. Turpin is like a Pharisee because she thinks she is good with God but she is not. The Pharisees in the Gospel are hypocritical and only care about making themselves look good and physical appearances. Mrs. Turpin could be described as a fake Christian, only speaking nicely to please the listeners and to appear as a “good person,” but her thoughts are cruel and hypocritical.
This story impacts readers by teaching them to not only speak like good Christians but to act like good Christians. Mount de Sales wants us to be kind to others while also having humility and compassion. Mount de Sales promotes the idea that we should act with genuineness and concern. The values that Mount de Sales aspires to have are the opposite of those in “Revelation.” We strive to reach a community free from judgment. We are required to do service hours to prevent people from having classist ideas as we help those in need. By working face-to-face with those less fortunate, we move past indifference and re-humanize the poor and appreciate their innate value and worth.
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Mount de Sales Academy is a private Catholic school located in Macon, GA, which is sponsored and inspired by the Sisters of Mercy. Since 1876, MDS has served a diverse college-preparatory community of learners—students and teachers alike—who are poised to discover, challenged to innovate, and motivated to serve.