Pride Can be the Sin of the Lord

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It is a common idea belief that just because someone is perceived as a good Christian, they are incapable of sin. In reality, there is a bit of evilness in all good people. The same can be said for people seem to be the embodiment of evil; even ill-natured people can have a part of their soul that is the light, the good in all of us. In Flannery O’Connor’s “Revelation”, Ruby Turpin’s encounters with other females in the story show her true colors of judgement and pride. Mrs. Turpin’s interactions with the “pleasant woman” in the waiting room show that she considers herself to be God’s gift to Earth. She thinks that she is so perfect that everyone compared to her will always fall beneath her.

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The only woman who Mrs. Turpin does not consider beneath her, but rather an equal, is this pleasant woman in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. She considers the pleasant woman as one of her own kind, she then sorts the rest of the room into categories that are beneath her. Ruby Turpin’s obsession with status and judgment of others is possibly the reason why she could be considered a “wart hog from Hell” (507). Her status levels range from “colored people” (491) at the bottom, to “people with a lot of money and much bigger houses and much more land” (491) at the very top of the ladder. The weirdest thing is that she will not place herself in the upmost level but she does consider herself quite close to there, “for some people with a lot money were common and ought to be below she and Claud” (491). The way Mrs. Turpin judges others and places them under where she places herself shows how much power she thinks she has and the amount of pride she has in her own self and social status. Pride, pride is one of the seven deadly sins and without a doubt the most common one for Mrs. Ruby Turpin. The above average ego of Mrs. Turpin can be seen through her interactions with the “white trash” woman, during which she uses her power to discriminate against others inside of her own mind because she thinks she is of higher importance than the rest of the world.

In regard to the white trash woman, Mrs. Turpin has many moments in which she talks with God, categorizing and ranking, in her opinion, the worst of the worst: “white-trash or a nigger or ugly” (492). This is most likely a way for her to boast how much better she is and boost her ego even more than it is already. Whenever the white trash woman speaks, Mrs. Turpin responds in her head with a hateful and rude comment. For instance, when the white trash lady tells how she bought a new piece of jewelry with the green stamps, Mrs. Turpin thought silently, “Ought to have got you a wash rag and some soap” (492). This happens many times, Mr. Turpin will say these rude and snarky comments in the safety of her own mind instead of owning up to what she thinks. Mrs. Turpin likes to hide behind the mask of a good faithful Christian, but under the mask she is nothing but a disrespectful seemingly evil being, and that is the worst part. It seems that throughout the story, Mrs. Turpin doesn’t notice that her initial reaction to others is horrid and sinful, but she still considers herself to be holier-than-thou.

The fact that Ruby likes to pretend to be Christian is ultimately what sets off Mary Grace’s rampage, and what presents the “old wart hog” comment. When Mrs. Turpin shouts, “Oh thank you Jesus, Jesus, thank you!”, Mary Grace throws the book at her head out of anger from her false Christian lifestyle. When Turpin does not confess to her faults when given the opportunity, her sins become exponentially worse. Her worst sin would be the difference in her inner thoughts and what she actually says and believes. By including the internal dialogue of Mrs. Turpin while she converses with the day laborer women, O’Connor puts the two-facedness of Ruby Turpin’s character on display for all to see. On one hand, she realizes how useless the opinions of the African woman are, but on the other, she continues to complain to them, almost as if she still wants praise and validation from these women.

Mrs. Turpin tells her story to the woman she has no respect for using a tone that one would talk to a close friend; however, in her head she thinks to herself, Idiots! She could never say anything educated to these women. Earlier in the story, Mrs. Turpin ensures the pleasant woman of how well she treats the workers on her farm. During that conversation, Mrs. Turpin says, “I sure am tired of buttering up niggers, but you got to love em if you want em to work for you” (494). Turpin seems to take good care of the workers and respect by bringing them water, providing them work, and talking with them, but these actions are all cancelled out by her inner monologue.

Mrs. Turpin’s treatment of the laborer women shows that she knows and does the right thing for the workers, but she does not love doing it. Actually, she says in her mind that she resents having to “butter up” or tolerate the African-American women. Just like in the rest of the story, Mrs. Turpin’s Spiteful and indictive interior is shadowed or covered by the nice and respectable air she puts on. In the end, Mrs. Turpin has an epiphany in the form of a vision. In her vision, “they were marching behind the others with great dignity, accountable as they had always been for good order and common sense and respectable behavior. They alone were on key. Yet she could see by their shocked and altered faces that even their virtues were being burned away” (508). This revelation that being arrogant and having this holier-than-thou attitude is the she can be a good Christian and an “old wart hog from Hell,” at the same time. She could have skipped all of the drama and just taken a look inside of her Bible: “For everyone who exalts him

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Pride Can Be the Sin of the Lord. (2022, Sep 02). Retrieved October 3, 2022 , from
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