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internal and External Violence in Short Fiction

Specific time periods, such as World War II, and the Post-Civil War era bring to mind images of hate, death, and violence. Not solely external violence or violence that iscarried out, such as murders, war, or blatant displays of violence such as those in Ellison’sBattle Royal, but internal violence as well. Internal violence is more about the mind, aviolence of emotion, though internal violence is closely linked to external violence. Theyare linked not only because external violence causes internal violence, but also because ofthe reverse. This is seen in the works of Ellison, Borowski, O’Connor, and DeLillo.In “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” O’Connor shows the effects of internalviolence compared to external violence. On one hand you have the family members thatare brought off to be killed. The only thing the author lets the reader know about theirfate is a solitary scream when the mother, daughter, and baby are taken away. However,for the entire time that the family is being held hostage, the grandmother is talking to TheMisfit. She shows how people react to the internal violence of a stressful, and fatal ordeal. She pleads with The Misfit not to save her grandchildren’s lives, not her son anddaughter-in-law’s lives, but only her own. She has no fear for anyone but herself and isconsumed by the need to preserve her life. She tries everything she can to get The Misfitto spare her. She tries to convince him that he is of good blood, and could never kill alady such as her self. She even tries to get him to turn to God for help. Of course none ofthis works but it makes a point. It makes the point that when faced with the fear ofexternal violence, people will do anything to get out of it, and it puts a large strain on thevictims emotions. The mere threat itself is internal violence because of this. Ralph Ellison’s “Battle Royal” depicts external violence in a ve...

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