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How do we make life meaningful? Is there even space for “meaning” in our modern world which so distrusts the metaphysical? Though Flannery O’Connor and Anton Chekhov are not often set side by side, both are acutely concerned with the ways in which the tangible and spiritual lives of their characters intersect. Beginning from such universal experiences as love, suffering, and death, the two authors examine how individuals act in the world with respect to (or in ignorance of) the boundaries of physical reality. Beyond this threshold lies something mysterious, gotten at peripherally but never fully grasped – to come up against this knowledge allows the possibility of transcendence, of a vital awareness which imbues the insufficiencies of human life with some degree of fullness.
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Fulks, Preston Donald, "Crickets Chirping Hallelujah: Mystery and Everyday Life in the Short Stories of Chekhov and O'Connor" (2019). Senior Projects Spring 2019. 200.