Thursday, December 29, 2016

Flannery O'Connor only wrote one story and it could have been written yesterday

This year I read, and in some cases re-read, the complete works of Flannery O'Connor. Like a lot of artists, she only had one theme, which she hammered compulsively, tweaking it and refining it and rewriting it over the course of two novels and 31 short stories.

She had three characters. A bad guy, often a con artist and sometimes batshit crazy. An aging Southerner, settled into a strict, frequently racist code that provides a roadmap for all his or her actions. And a high-minded urban atheist, who believes the first character pitiable and the second deplorable. At the end, all three are offered a symbol of grace, reminding them they're all sinners who need God.

And I thought, "Things just don't change much."

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