Flannery O'Connor Writing Styles in A Circle in the Fire

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Foreshadowing

O'Connor makes frequent use of foreshadowing, so that the reader may guess the story's ending almost from the story's start. On the story's second page readers learn that "Mrs. Cope was always worrying about fires in her woods," thus making it clear that the word "fire" in the story's title is not incidental. Each time Mrs. Pritchard warns that sometimes trouble comes in overwhelming waves, it enforces the idea that Mrs. Cope's trouble may come in the form of fire. Garfield spits a lighted cigarette into the grass, and a flustered Mrs. Cope mistakenly calls him "Ashfield." By this point in the story, the reader suspects the farm's fate is sealed.

The predictability that O'Connor creates heightens tension rather than quashing it. Readers may feel as if they are on a roller coaster, careening inexorably toward a final, heart-stopping drop. They know the drop is coming, they just...

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This section contains 466 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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