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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton September 1, 2011

The Convergence of Signs in Flannery O’Connor’s ”Parker‘s Back“

Hsiu-chih Tsai
From the journal Chinese Semiotic Studies


Through a tattooed body image in the short story "Parker's Back", O'Connor illustrates a possibility of "convergence" in the boundary-crossing encounter of the antithetical concepts separately possessed by the protagonist Parker and his wife. This paper would like to adopt a semiotic approach developed by Roland Barthes to study first, how Parker as a sign can perform the rhetorical function of the paradoxism, and second, through his function of mediation to contribute to the construction of the narrative. Taking Parker's body as the place of meditation of the material and the spirit helps illustrate the rhetorical and symbolic power embedded in the short story that starts and completes the life of the literary narrative. The religious concept of convergence in O'Connor's " Parker's Back" will surprisingly reveal to us certain similarities between the semiotic analyses and the religious interpretation of sign functions.

Published Online: 2011-9-1
Published in Print: 2011-9-1

© 2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston