'You Won’t Be the Same Again': After Revelation
Confrontation with the evidence of traditional Christianity disrupts the ontology of mass American modernity. In the aftermath of the moment of grace, the old modes are no longer acceptable for the ordering of human life. Yet, O’Connor’s cultural antagonism does not offer political alternatives to the disrupted culture. As such, she has no investment in the possibility of movements to reform, re-shape, or replace secular society. “Preachers […] indistinguishable from politicians” met her ire (Wood 33) and she dismissed I’ll Take My Stand (1930), the Agrarian statement of traditionalism as a political program, which she did not read until the last year of her life, as “a very interesting document [… but] futile of course like ‘woodman, spare that tree’” (HB 566).

O’Connor then had little interest in “practical” answers to the pervasive nihilism of modernity or its specific expression as social ill. Her primary interest was the creation of an individual awareness, on the one hand, of the failure of the modernist scheme in its denial of authentic reality and, on the other, of an attendant need for personal communion with divinity. In essence, O’Connor advocates the “projection of a religious alternative” to secular society (Bacon 139).

This new community, derived from communion with the divine presence and other human beings also awakened to the re-centered reality, overlays, rather than directly replacing, the old; it requires a re-focusing of both personal perceptions and outward actions. A shift in focus away from the personal and material concerns enables a return to human communion in the midst of modernist alienation.