The potential for redemption can be found in James Joyce’s story The Dead and in Flannery O’Connor’s short story Revelation. However, it is difficult to prove the fact that these bits of potential redemption are at all similar. In the story The Dead, the main character Gabriel is depicted as a selfish and self-centered person who cares only about himself. For example, in the beginning of the story, he hurts Lily when he asks her about marriage, but he does not think about the negative consequences of his questions. His selfishness can be found in his relations with Gretta, his wife. Although he has been with Gretta for many years, Gabriel never even had an idea to ask her about her past loves. That is why he is surprised to find out she had been involved in love relations with a boy before she met him. It is clear that Gabriel should think about other people, but he should not focus on himself. The potential for redemption is given to him by the dead Michael Furey. He is wrong when he says: “Our path through life is strewn with many such sad memories: and were we to brood upon them always we could not find the heart to go on bravely with our work among the living”¯ (Joyce 81).
However, in the story Revelation, the potential for redemption is given to Mrs. Turpin, a religious and self-important woman, by a teenager Mary Grace. Mrs. Turpin is filled with prejudice towards others and constantly judges other people. She is sure that African-Americans and poor people are beneath her, both morally and economically. When Mary Grace called her “an old wart hog”¯, she realizes that it is a message from God (O’Connor 45). She is given a chance to find redemption and change her behavior.
To sum up, the main characters of two stories discussed in this paper have very much in common, but the potentials for redemption are different. Gabriel is given a potential for redemption by the dead Michael Furey, while Mrs. Turpin is given the potential for redemption by a teenager Mary Grace who is alive.