Greenleaf GREENLEAF In her story, “Greenleaf”, the author Flannery O’Conner shows us that people can sometimes blind their factual vision of the world through a mask of dreams, so that they would not be able to make a distinction between reality and their dreams of reality. O’Conner unveils this through the use of point of view , character, irony, and symbol. Being told through the limited omniscient point of view, this story takes place on a dairy farm, which was the only thing left to Mrs. May when her husband died. Mrs.
May is a strong willed mother of two, who has many dreams and goals. She is “barely making ends meet”, as quoted from the story, through her dairy farm selling her milk. She lives at the farm, since that is the only thing she has, with her two sons Wesley, the younger child, and Scofield. Though Mrs. May was struggling, her two boys never helped or even supported her.
They just lived with her and complained about it. Both of the boys have a career of their own. Wesley is described as a thin, bald, intellectual who did not like anything. He drove twenty miles everyday to a second-rate university where he taught, which he did not like. Now his brother Scofield is the total opposite of Wesley, it is said that the only thing they did have in common was neither cared about what happened to the farm.
Scofield was a business man, he sold insurance, not just any insurance but he sold insurance that only Negroes bought. He was known as the “policy man” by the black community. His mother was very disgruntled by this fact, knowing this he would loudly shout to company that he was the “best negroe- insurance salesman in the country”. Neither of the boys were married, but Scofield would tease Mrs. May by saying that when she died he would get married to a nice fat girl like Mrs.
Greenleaf that would take over the farm. So upon hearing this, Mrs. May changed her will so that if the boys married they cold not leave the farm to their wives. Now Mrs. Greenleaf was a fat, dirty woman who did not take care of care of her family nor her house. She was one of the neighbors close by and the wife of her employee, Mr.
Greenleaf. Mrs. Greenleaf would spend all of her time doing “prayer healing”. That is, taking clippings of bad stories out of the paper and burring them in the woods. She would then do some ritual over them.
Her husband worked for Mrs. May and was always had to be told more than once to do something before he would actually do it. The conflicts of this story was mostly man vs man and man vs nature. Throughout most of the story there is a bull roaming around the farm eating the shrubbery and taunting the animals. Later in the story we discover that the owner of the bull is actually the Greenleafs’ boys, O.T. and E.T., who lives at a nice farm that was partially provided by the government because they were sergeants in the army. They let the bull go because it smashed up their truck and then ran away.
Mrs. May tries to get O.T. and E.T. to come pick up their bull, but they never show. The turning point of the story is when Mrs.
May orders Mr. Greenleaf to shoot his sons’ bull. Now when he’s told to do this he tries to avoid it, but Mrs. May practically forces him to go out and hunt the bull. She drives him out to where the bull is and orders him to chase the bull out away from the herd of cows and to shoot it.
The Denouement, or climax, is when he chases the bull up to where Mrs. May is waiting by her car. Now when she sees the bull, she just stares at it with no sense of time or distance as it plows into her. When this happens Mr. Greenleaf shoots it four times through the eye.
When the bull descended, Mrs. May was still stuck to its horns making it appear that she was bending down whispering into the bulls ear. In doing so, Mrs. May confirms how she did not see what was happening as the reality of the bull dug into her flush. Book Reports.