Daily Archives: February 8, 2006

Flannery O’Connor

Still reading A Good Man Is Hard to Find and other stories.

The second story is The River, about a child, variously named Harry and Bevel, who, fairly neglected by his parents, spends the day being sat by a Mrs. Connin. She takes him to her home (where he steals a valuable antique children’s book about Jesus) then down to the river, where the Reverend Bevel Summers baptizes him. Later Harry returns to the river by himself and drowns himself searching for the Kingdom of Jesus, before the cancerous Mr. Paradise was likely about to molest him.

Next up is The Life You Save May Be Your Own, in which the one-armed Mr. Shiftlet arrives at the home of Lucynell Carter and her developmentally challenged adult daughter Lucynell Carter. Mrs. Carter convinces Mr. Shiftlet to marry the younger Lucynell, whom Mr. Shiftlet then abandons at a diner and makes off with Mrs. Carter’s car.

Remember in the title story, where the unpleasant people ended up being brutally murdered.
I think maybe these stories are supposed to be funny? They don’t seem at all funny when I’m reading them. But summing them up like this, all these damaged people coming to ignominious ends, it all seems really black, really somehow over the top darkly humorous.

Next is the least horrifying so far, A Stroke of Good Fortune, in which Ruby comes to the realization (horrifying to her, at least), while climbing the stairs to her fourth floor walkup, that she is pregnant. Then, in A Temple of the Holy Ghost, the twelve year old girl and her two visiting fourteen year old cousins puzzle over the mysterious transgendered person in the freak show at the fair.

I finished that story on the Metro, then turned to the next story and closed the book quietly and nonchalantly. I was somewhat dismayed, unable to read The Artificial Nigger in public.