The short story “Greenleaf” by Flannery O’Connor is, at first look, a simple story of an elitist property owner, Mrs. May, and her lower-class property and groundskeeper, Mr. Greenleaf. “Greenleaf” explores the last days of the hypocritical Mrs. May, who throughout the story tries to avoid the redemption offered her through God’s grace. This story has as its primary symbol a bull who finally forces the headstrong Mrs. May to acknowledge the wrongs of her life and possibly make the confession which will assure her redemption. The symbols that O’Connor uses create a multi-layered, intricate story rich in religious, social, and sexual symbolism.
At the beginning of the story, O’Connor introduces the antagonist bull “like some patient god come