Flannery O'Connor的生平 (March 25, 1925 – August 3, 1964)看起来有些可怜，是个多愁多病的才女。然而我是在读到她的生平之前先读了她的小说，都没能看出来出自女性之手。
玛丽·弗兰纳里·奥康纳（Flannery O'Connor，1925年3月25日－1964年8月3日），美国女性作家。奥康纳共创作有两本长篇小说和32篇短篇小说，以及大量的评论和评述。作为美国南方文学作家群中的一员，她经常以南方哥特式风格写作，并在很大程度上依赖于区域设置和怪诞的人物塑造。奥康纳的作品也反映了她自己的罗马天主教信仰，并经常探讨道德和伦理问题。其代表作有《好人难寻》（A Good Man Is Hard To Find）、《智血》（Wise Blood）等。她的《短篇小说合集》于1972年获得美国国家图书奖小说类奖项，并收到广泛赞誉。
Name to Know
O’Connor, Flannery (1925—1964): A devout Roman Catholic fro. America's Bible Belt, Flannery O'Connor is one of the nation's most prominent short story writers. O'Connor claimed that her stories, know for their shocking and violent climaxes, were intended to reveal the role divine salvation in daily life and the apathy of a contemporary society . need of spiritual awakening. The brevity of her life allowed her time enough to publish only four works: two novels, Wise Blood (1952) and The Viole, Bear. It Away (1960), and two collections of short stories, A Good Man. Hard to Find and Other Stories (1955) and Everything That Rises Must Converge (1965). Several other works, including her letters, essays, ar book reviews, were published posthumously. She died, like her father, lupus after a lengthy illness.
We begin our O'Connor lecture with “The River, one of the most sacramental stories, focused entirely on the collision occurs between the sacred and the secular, as shown in the exploration of baptism. Naming is a central activity in both religion and writing,
O’Connor evokes, with great pungency, the wasteland dimension. of the child protagonist's family: a world of cigarette butts, parties hangovers, and so forth. This borders on a critique of modern life O'Connor's predilection for the grotesque is also on display.
We learn that this world is a joke world, a place where nothing is ultimately serious, where words themselves do not bind. But all of this is due to change.
The boy-called Harry by his parents-is about to make a voyage of Dantesque proportions. It looks normal at the outset: the babysitter comes to take him off. A preacher named Bevel is "performing"; Harry tells the babysitter that his own name is Bevel. Things are beginning to hun.
As Harry goes to Mrs. Collin's place, he encounters the “good country people” of O'Connor's rural Georgia: one quickly sees how mean-spirited and sadistic such folks can be, especially children.
This episode reaches a climax when Bevel (as the tale now calls him) encounters his ghastly other: a pig who runs right over him. We are not far from stories of Jesus's exploits, such as freeing the sick from their vices and diseases,
The story reaches its pinnacle when Bevel is brought to the river where the young preacher is doing his healing. The crowd holds both believers and unbelievers. Here, Bevel will be literally baptized in what the preacher calls “the rich red river of Jesus’ Blood.” He is told that he now counts. Perhaps the joke world is finally left behind.
The child returns home to his parents, busy partying, and O'Connor again contrasts the two worlds in view. Bevel yearns to return to the river. He wakes up early the next day, samples once again the wasteland he inhabits, and goes off in search of the river, on his own.
He reenters the waters; they initially repel him, but finally he is received. What do we call this a birth or a death?
Our second O'Connor text, "Judgment Day,' explores not only death but its aftermath, the final fate of body and soul, the fin; evaluation and revelation of who we are.
For the protagonist, Tanner, “exiled' in New York, dying and going to heaven means getting his body back home to Georgia. His daughter has betrayed him on this front, so he must act on his own.
One of the most fascinating elements of the story is Tanner's full fledged vision (or perhaps we should call it a fantasy) of Tanner, returning home as a “fake” corpse and announcing to his friends as they open the coffin: “Judgment Day! Judgment Day”
O'Connor fleshes out her displaced Southerner, and we learn good bit about race and class in mid-20-century rural Georgia. Tanner was most proud of his reputation as a man who could “handle niggers,” and the story gives us evidence of how he does in depicting his relationship to Coleman.
Yet Tanner is also a displaced man even in Georgia, inasmuch a he owns no property and finds that a black landowner is higher up in the pecking order than he is. The notion of a home getting complicated.
One of the emerging themes of the story is the contrast between Georgia and New York, especially along lines of race and class. is here that literature shows us how impoverished our one-liners ar about these matters, since Tanner is at once racist and yet deeply attached to Coleman, displaying a kind of bond that is Sorely lacking in New York with its anonymous urban living arrangements,
The crisis toward which the entire story is heading comes from Tanner's misconceived efforts to recreate Georgia in New York via his dealings with the black couple that lives in the same place.
Already Tanner's daughter has rejected outright his old value system. Now the black man-an actor whom Tanner insists on calling Preacher-rejects even more violently Tanner's assumptions. It is classic O'Connor a confident Southerner coming to learn that his truths are illusions and that a new reality is crushing through.
The story closes with Tanner's undoing. It is brutal, far from the scenario he had fantasized. Yet he does indeed return "home” as he is exiting the land of the living. Coleman fuses (in his mind) with the huge black man who is assaulting him, and after his death, his body is indeed shipped back to Georgia.
Some Kind of Heaven
One exits from these two stories sensing they are about first and last things. O'Connor utilizes a rural realist discourse to depict spiritual truths.
Against the degraded backdrop of Bevel's family life and Tanner's New York experience, we see a fierce need for some kind of transcendent truth, a place where the soul might feel at home.
The tone of these pieces is unique in our literature: grotesque, funny, heartbreaking. In short compass, O'Connor stages the decisive contests of life and death, those moments when our matter-of-fact world lifts its veil, pointing elsewhere. But this is neither formulaic, nor easy, nor reassuring; on the contrary, we feel much wreckage in her work.
Desmond, Risen Sons.
O'Connor, The Complete Stories.
Weinstein, Nobody's Home.
Questions to Consider
1. O'Connor's work is known for its emphasis on the grotesque and the violent. How can one reconcile this with her equally powerful focus on religious ritual and myth?
2. How would you characterize the attitude(s) toward race in “Judgement Day"? To what extent is O'Connor invested in a contrast between North and South in that story?
© 本文版权归作者 Lan