The Lame Shall Enter First
Rufus Johnson in Flannery O’Connor’s The Lame Shall Enter First is the delinquent youth in the story who enters a reformatory where he meets Sheppard, a widowed and atheist father who altruistically insists on taking Rufus into his home with the intent to teach his own son Norton to become less selfish. Rufus’ identity is shaped by his abusive grandfather, his clubbed foot, and that he is a Christian. Throughout the story and with much exertion Sheppard ensues in a power struggle for Rufus’ transformation to become anything he wants to become while he disregards Norton. Rufus, believing in the great mystery of Christ, is content to accept his position in life and even makes a point by having the cops arrest him because he would rather not live with a man who chooses to play God. By the end of the story, Sheppard is left without Rufus or Norton. The characters in The Lame Shall Enter First can represent the cultural divide and misunderstandings within American culture. The photographs in this body of work illustrate those misunderstandings, but not America’s lack of charm, through this pictorial survey of American tropes, political opinions, and personal values.