Collected Works Characters

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Collected Works Summary & Study Guide Description

Collected Works Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on Collected Works by Flannery O'Connor.

Ruby Hillappears in A Stroke of Good Fortune

Ruby Hill is a thirty-four year old woman, with mulberry colored hair and carries too much weight. Ruby is married to Bill Hill and has been for five years. The couple lives on the fifth floor of an apartment building. Ruby is convinced that something is wrong with her, only confirmed by a shortness of breath as she tries to carry groceries up the stairs. Ruby ends up leaving them for her husband to carry up when he gets home from work.

Ruby's brother Rufus has just returned from the service. Ruby is embarrassed by the brother, who is fourteen years her junior. The family had hoped that the military would give Rufus some incentive, some ambition and a sense of responsibility. It didn't happen. Instead, Rufus had to live with Ruby and Bill because the family home no longer existed. Ruby is embarrassed by the fact that Rufus is "good for absolutely nothing" and even more embarrassed by the fact that Bill noticed it right off.

Ruby takes pride in being different from the rest of the family. There were eight children in the family, two were stillborn and one died in infancy. Ruby swore she was nothing like her mother at thirty-four, a sour, puckered-up woman with gray hair.

Ruby's belief that she is ill is confirmed by Madam Zoleeda, a palmist. Madam Zoleeda told Ruby that she would have a long illness but that it would bring Ruby a stroke of good fortune. Ruby is prepared to discover the worst while everyone but Ruby seems to know that she is pregnant.

Julianappears in Everything That Rises Must Converge

Julian is a recent college graduate who has returned home to live with his mother until he gets a job. The mother dotes on Julian, something that Julian both takes for granted and resents.

The mother has a need to lose twenty pounds and goes to the Y once a week. Because the buses have been newly integrated, the mother will not travel alone. Julian is annoyed that he has to take his mother but is reminded of all the things the mother does for him.

From the very beginning of the story, Julian is rude to his mother. Everything the mother does is wrong, from the way she speaks to the way she acts and dresses. Julian has no patience. On the bus on the way to the Y, the mother and son discuss integration. Julian wants to embrace the modern world and is disgusted by his mother's resistance to change. A well dressed Negro gets on the bus and is reading a newspaper. Julian insists on trying to talk to the man, although the man isn't interested and becomes annoyed. Julian is better than all of these people and feels the need to prove it.

Julian continues to be annoyed with the mother no matter what the woman does. A Negro child likes Julian's mother and it seems as if the child's mother and Julian's mother switch places. At the Y, the mother offers the child a penny against Julian's advice. The child's mother proves Julian right when she punches the mother in the face. Julian berates his mother until he notices that something is wrong. As Julian begins to realize that his mother is having a stroke, he begins to treat her with respect.

Hazel Motesappears in Wise Blood

Hazel (also called Haze) Motes is a man just returning from the Army after the war. Motes goes back to his hometown to find his childhood home has been abandoned. Motes' goal in life is to become a preacher like his grandfather.

Asa Hawksappears in Wise Blood

Asa Hawks is a preacher and self-proclaimed prophet who travels around with his daughter trying to convert sinners. Hawks blinded himself to prove he had been redeemed.

Enoch Emoryappears in Wise Blood

Enoch Emory is a boy who works in a small town zoo. Emory attempts to befriend Haze Motes.

The Misfitappears in A Good Man is Hard to Find

The Misfit is an escaped convict and murderer.

Mrs. Conninappears in The River

Mrs. Connin is a devoutly religious babysitter to Harry, a small boy who has no concept of Jesus or religion.

Harry Ashfieldappears in The River

Harry Ashfield is a little boy of about 4 or 5 years old who was baptized and later drowned in the river while looking for Jesus.

Tom Shifletappears in The Life You Save May be Your Own

Tom Shiflet is a homeless man and vagrant working as a carpenter.

Lucynell Carterappears in The Life You Save May be Your Own

Lucynell Carter is a young girl who is deaf and mute until Tom Shiflet teaches her to speak.

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