In other words, grace hurts. So says novelist C.E. Morgan in an incisive article
by the same title in this week's Christian Century
. For those who are befuddled by the element of violence in Flannery O'Connor's fiction, I encourage you to check out this article. Many times perplexed visitors will ask me about why O'Connor is so preoccupied, almost obsessed, with violence. In order to justify the literary merit of her work, I'm afraid I sometimes become defensive, almost apologetic. "Well, it's not the kind of gratuitous violence that we've come to expect in the movies and popular culture. It's not all that graphic." True enough, but more needs to be said. And Ms. Morgan certainly does in this very fine piece that explores the sacramental function of violence in three of O'Connor's short stories: "A Good Man Is Hard to Find," "Good Country People," and "A Circle in the Fire." Unfortunately, only part of the article can be viewed following the link. You'll have to subscribe to the magazine or read it at your local library. Either way, it's worth the effort.
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