RARA-AVIS: One Tough Lady Flannery O'Connor

Frederick Zackel (fzackel@wcnet.org)
Fri, 17 Sep 1999 20:28:06 -0400

The other morning I taught FO'C's "Good Country People," the one where the one-legged 32 yr old gal with the wooden leg tries to seduce the innocent Bible salesman -- only to lose the leg to him in the barn's hayloft. I was telling the students that Flannery O'Connor was tougher than Tarantino, that her rigorous religious beliefs made her so icy. I mentioned "A Good Man is Hard to Find," said the rest of the sentence probably was "And Bad Men were everywhere." That to FO'C, the moment when a gun is stuck in a Christian's face and death awaits, that's a state of grace, and what should a good Christian do? I mentioned that Columbine shooting in Colorado, the teenage girl who was asked "Are you a Christian?" by the 15 yr old with a gun; she said, "I am a Christian" and he blew her away. I said, that Columbine student was a hero in my book, a martyr for her religion, and I asked the students, "Which one of you good Christian people would die for your religion?"

Hell, I was just teaching a hard-boiled short story.

That same night in Fort Worth -- another gunman and more teenagers killed in the name of religion.

Right now she's my favorite hard-boiled writer.

Frederick Zackel

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