Monday, June 08, 2009

On Misfits and Grandmothers

As I pointed out in an earlier post, many of the writers I have been reading over the past several years (Tolkien, Chesterton, Lewis) had such a unique outlook on the world, one characterized by a humility and wonder that is somewhat lacking in my own theological circles. One of you commented, suggest-ing that these men had a sacramental worldview. When I admitted that I have no idea what that means, another of you directed me to the short stories of Flannery O'Connor as an example of what a sacramental worldview looks like. So, off I went to purchase said volume.

I read a couple of O'Connor's lesser-known stories (one of which involved a boy dressing up as a gorilla for some reason I have yet to ascertain), but was then directed by a church member to read A Good Man Is Hard to Find, which I did yesterday (who, me unteachable?).

I admit, it is a disturbing story to say the least (though how it demonstrates a sacramental worldview I am unsure). The most interesting line is one of the very last, which is uttered by an escaped convict known as "The Misfit." After his cohorts murder a family of four, the only family member still alive is "the Grandmother," who has been engaging The Misfit in conversation, insisting that he is "not common," and indeed "good." She then reaches out to touch him, whereupon he recoils as if bitten by a snake, shoots her three times in the chest, and says:

"She would of been a good woman, if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."

Is the point that O'Connor's Misfit is making that we need to be faced with fear and threat before we will truly demonstrate decency, that real virtue is produced in the crucible of danger?

Is Miss Flannery's Catholic skirt showing?