Mrs. Turpin: The Insecure Southern Belle

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Mrs. Turpin: The Insecure Southern Belle Revelation by Flannery O’ Conner begins by introducing Mrs. Turpin, a southern woman who is sitting in a hospital waiting room. Who is Mrs. Turpin and where does she come from? How was she raised? What led her to this point in her life? O’Conner does not expound on Mrs. Turpin’s past life story, but the reader soon learns what type of person she is. She represents the stereotypical southern belle of the 1950s. The reader can envision a proper and genteel lady who never has to worry about any monetary or internal crisis. What was really going on inside of this ‘lady of society’? Mrs. Turpin is an insecure and arrogant woman who lives in the confines of the southern culture and ideology. All that she…show more content…
Turpin’s secret insecure side. She says “Claud he eats all he wants to and never weighs over one hundred and seventy-five pounds, but me I just look at something good to eat and I gain some weight” (O'Conner 1). Mrs. Turpin’s strong and demanding character is vulnerable at the mentioning of weight. She is at least insecure with her outside appearance. The arrogant, prejudice, and strong woman the reader sees in the story is actually a cover up. Mrs. Turpin uses her neat and tidy social hierarchy to comfort herself. What is she without the titles that southern society lends to its citizens? She does not know. After the teenager attacks her, she wrestles with herself and even with God on the subject of her identity. Mrs. Turpin does not know how to deal with the loss of here social structure. She cries out “Go on, call me a hog! Call me a hog again. From hell. Call me a wart hog from hell. Put that bottom rail on top. There’ll still be a top and bottom” (O'Conner 10). She comes face to face with the reality of who she is and the value of the others in her social hierarchy. Readers relate to her because they sometimes come face to face with ugly things about themselves. Ms. Turpin comes out of the incident with a new perspective of where she and everyone else on her social hierarchy
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