Publication Date

May 2008


School of Communication



Primary Subject Area

Literature, General


Both Fyodor Dostoevsky and Flannery O’Connor used the grotesque to portray their beliefs about human nature. Both believed that mystery is a crucial element of truth and humanity’s understanding is limited. Although they employed the grotesque differently, the similarities of their style stem from the similarities of their beliefs. O’Connor often referred to Dostoevsky’s artistry and his theology, and she was influenced by both. A comparison of Ivan Karamazov in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov and Hazel Motes in O’Connor’s Wise Blood reveals the similarities in what each author believed about humanity’s capability to understand truth. What both authors believed about human nature, and the limitations of every aspect of humanity, particularly human reason, led to their use of the grotesque.