Self-satisfaction combines with national fear overlayed on a historical background that denies all but the materially and immediately apparent to create a culture convinced of the efficacy of personal will as an ethical guide and personal satisfaction as an ultimate goal. O'Connor points out the logical conclusion of such a culture in the persona of the Misfit, whose honesty prevents him from finding satisfaction in the various artifices of his time and necessitates his turn to a nihilistic violence.
The cultural shock of violence and suffering initiate an awareness of the constructedness of immediate reality. Beyond that reality lies a universal Real, embodied in traditional Christianity. The alternative exists if individuals will turn from the social construction and acknowledge the vision of the universal.
O'Connor's vision of this universal truth comprises the primary focus of her work, yet in portraying it for an indifferent world, she, by necessity, first had to criticize and expose the flaws and failings of modern, consumerist America.