Frank O'Connor's "world of appearances" : epiphany and false personality in his stories of childhood.
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This study illuminates the influence of two vastly different short story writers on the work of Frank O’Connor: James Joyce and Anton Chekhov. O’Connor vowed never to imitate the Russian master, and yet Chekhov’s theme of false personality is present in many O’Connor’s stories involving young children. And while critical attention given to the Joyce-O’Connor connection focuses primarily on O’Connor’s disagreements with Joyce over the aesthetic function of literature; the present study analyzes how O’Connor employs Joyce’s notion of epiphany to bring his child narrators to a moment of discovery about themselves or the world around them. Lastly, this analysis employs O’Connor’s phrase “the world of appearances” to describe the deceitful nature of the world that his child protagonists inhabit. O’Connor emerges from this intertextual close reading in a new light—as the writer of complex, unsentimental, and thoroughly believable stories about children of all ages.