The Turkey


This next short story of Flannery O’Connor’s is titled The Turkey. At first, I was jarred by the beginning. But as I kept reading, and as I went back it started to make sense. The reason it seemed confusing was because the main character is a child. And the way O’Connor writes is not “the boy was playing by himself and imagining these things.” She’s more cryptic, and makes you believe that these varmits are real. After a page or two, I actually began to really enjoy and appreciate how O’Connor really took me into the psychology of a young boy.

The story is about a young boy, Ruller, who chases and kills a turkey. The turkey is then hung over his shoulder to be taken home. But, the country kids sort of trick Ruller and walk off with the turkey themselves. Ruller runs home after this. Again, O’Connor really takes the reader into the psychology of a child; and she does this really well. But not only that, she also takes the reader into the psychology of this child.

The deeper thread of this story lies in the boy’s struggle with his conceptions of God. He wavers from outright cursing God to desiring to do something for Him (even if somewhat mistaken as to what giving to God means). Nevertheless, there was a series of sentences that stood out to me.

He guessed he was one of the most unusual children ever. Maybe that was why the turkey was there. He rubbed his hand along his neck. Maybe it was to keep him form going bad. Maybe God wanted to keep him from that. (p. 49)


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