Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Flanner O'connor's humor and her characters
Another incredible story that truly deserves its place in the anthology 100 years of the best american short stories - is flannery o'connor's late story everything that rises must converge - probably the epitome of her morbid comic style, a style unique to her in that as a whole her stories are full of grotesques, bigots, fools, and acts of violence yet line by line the stories are hilarious - if you could read the stories slowly enough I think you'd laugh at almost every line. As w many of her stories the plot as such is minimal but the characters themselves undergo in a short narrative space a complete transformation- sometimes a revelation. In this one a young man one year our of a third-rate college takes his mother by bus to her exercise class, which she attends to alleviate high blood pressure. It's in the Deep South - Georgia probably - in the early days of integration and the mother is disturbed that black people can sit anywhere on the bus - not like the old days. She mortified her son by her ignorant racist comments on the bus - and the a black woman with a child board and the woman is wearing the same odd hat as the mother. The mother against son's warning tries to give the boy a penny - showing her tolerance as she believes - which leads to a pretty awful confrontation. Typical of the humor, to son's mortification the mother says to a fellow passenger that her son wants to be a writer but so far he's making a living selling yew rites - to which the other woman says well you could move easily from one to the other. Typical of O'Connor these characters are outsiders left behind and bewildered by the changes taking place in their world and culture, vestiges, characters who even at the time of composition - 1962 I think - seemed of another century.