Tuesday, September 10, 2013

didacticism

I read "Good Country People" by Flannery O'Connor recently. It's a classic and it's available several places on the web, here, for example. In a very brief nutshell: a woman, Mrs. Hopewell, runs a farm in rural Georgia with the help of her 2 tenants. Her one-legged Ph.D. daughter, Joy/Hulga, lives with her as well. A traveling bible salesman comes to the woman's house and ...adventures ensue. I don't want to ruin it for you if you haven't read it.

After reading a story I often step back and consider what was the point of this? Mrs. Hopewell is not happy with her Ph.D. atheist daughter and in the course of the story poor Joy/Hulga has a bad experience/rude awakening as a result of her paradigm. I can only conclude at least part of O'Connor's goal was to show intellectualism and atheism are basically wrong/bad/stupid/insert-your-favorite-nagative-word-here. Can the reader infer a greater meaning? Such as: even 'good country person' and devout Catholic Mrs. Hopewell should examine her preconceptions? Sure. O'Connor may have meant to convey this as well.
Overall, I'm getting a very didactic tone from this story.

Ms. O'Connor didn't really get the recognition she deserved for her writing. I think this is because she was a woman and especially because she wrote about poor southerners.
Or, maybe it was because she was so didactic.

What do you think?

1 comment:

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