Flannery O'Connor’s (1925-1964) "The Lame Shall Enter First" (1962) deals with three characters: Sheppard, a widower, his son Norton, a ten years old boy and Rufus, a miscreant teenager, whom Norton dislikes. Rufus has a clubfoot, is very intelligent and fond of violence. Sheppard is a philanthropist and likes to help Rufus inviting him to live with them, contrary to Norton’s wishes. In fact, Rufus despises Sheppard, resists help and is aware of his own evil nature. He makes Sheppard embarrassed and causes Norton’s death deliberately, leaving both of them as victims. O’Connor in this context, de/reconstructs the prejudice against the disabled people; in the American South the disabled are regarded as evil characters. On the other hand, although it is generally accepted that the disabled people are good, she shows them as ordinary people having both good and wicked sides. Moreover, they may refuse help and prove personality despite the fact that non-disabled people are inclined or regard it duty to help them. She problematizes the disabled body as ‘the other/marginalized’ being pitiful and pitied. Thus, it becomes clear that O’Connor acknowledges the disabled people as normal as the non-disabled, or powerful, not physically but spiritually and intellectually. The tenets of ‘Disability Studies’ are insightful to discuss the work.
Keywords: Flannery O'Connor, "The Lame Shall Enter First", “Disability Studies”, American South