Flannery O’Connor A View of the Woods

Flannery O’Connor A view of the Woods: Struggle for Power

Flannery O’Connor’s short story A View of the Woods illuminates several themes that occur throughout the story.  I believe the major theme of the story is the desire for power.  A View of the Woods is told through the perspective of Mr. Fortune, viewed through his experience and thoughts on his surroundings. The story illustrates Fortunes necessity for power and self-preservation which can be seen in his actions towards Mary Fortune Pitts and Mr. Pitts. The first theme I noticed is the theme of power which can be seen in the three main characters of the story; Mr. Fortune, Mary Fortune, and Mr. Pitts. Mr. Fortune exerts his power over anything he can control. For example, Mr. Fortune controls Mr. Pitts with his excessive control over his property. Mr. Fortune knows that he can control Pitts based on his own ideals that, “Anyone over sixty years of age is in an uneasy position unless he controls the greater interest and every now and then he gave the Pittses a practical lesson  by selling off a lot”(337). Fortune enjoys making Pitts angry specifically when it pertains to his land, he knows that this is the only power he will have over him. As vice versa, Pitts enjoys power over Fortune through Mr. Fortune’s perspective. Fortune believes Pitts thrives in the power of beating Mary Fortune because it strips Mr. Fortune of any control. For example, Fortune explains the beatings of Mary Fortune as if, “This was Pitts revenge on him. It was as if it were he that Pitts was driving down the road to beat and it was as if he were the one submitting to it”(341).Fortune believes Mr. Pitts beatings of Mary is metaphorically Pitts beating Mr. Fortune, stripping him of any control to protect Mary. Mary also displays examples of control over her grandpa. Not only does Mr. Pitts have a source of control over Mr. Fortune, Mary does as well. Mr. Fortune adores Mary that he fails to realize how much she controls him. For example, Mr. Fortune never beats Mary no matter how much she “talks back” or how comfortable she speaks to Mr. Fortune as if they were the same age. In one scene, Mr. Fortune and Mary are arguing and she remarks, “’And I refuse to ride with the Whore of Babylon’”(343). Mary Fortune talks to Mr. Fortune in an unconventional manner that coincides with traditional conversation expected between the young and the old. Her use of taboo language to her grandfather highlights her power over him. In addition, she also controls his emotions; Mr. Fortune’s feelings are easily controlled by her actions. Once Mr. Fortune realized she left with Mr. Pitts at the store, “The old man, trembling, got in his car and started home, His feelings raced back and forth between fury and mortification”(346). Mary Fortune leaving with Mr. Pitts, in other words, choosing Mr. Pitts over Mr. Fortune made him extremely angry. Mr. Fortune depends on her actions to decide his emotions. A View of the Woods is a story driven by the necessity of power for the main characters.


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