A Circle in the Fire Historical Context

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Southern Gothic

O'Connor is among the writers associated with the southern gothic style of writing. This style features settings in the American South and characters who are bizarre, grotesque, and often outcast. Recurring themes include isolation, confusion, and the search for meaning. O'Connor's fiction focuses on the theme of confusion, especially confusion between wisdom and ignorance and between outward appearances (i.e., the facade of politeness, religious devotion, and conventionality) and inner reality (a meanness of spirit and egotism).

O'Connor is noted for populating her fiction with particularly grotesque characters and for crafting stories that cast them in a harsh light. Unlike some other southern gothic writers, such as Carson McCullers, O'Connor has no sympathy for her twisted characters and her casts include no heroes. In addition to McCullers, other writers associated with southern gothic writing include Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, Katherine Anne Porter, and Truman Capote.

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This section contains 690 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Circle in the Fire Study Guide
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A Circle in the Fire from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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