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November 07, 1954 - Image 9

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Michigan Daily, 1954-11-07
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-~ -9 -.







More Character Revelations by O'Conner

Sen. McCarthy Meets His Peers




IRELAND is a rebellious country,
and all of its great writers have
been rebels. Starting with Swift
and continuing with Joyce and
Shaw, they have rebelled against
English domination, or the Catho-
lic Church, or the bourgeosie, or
Ireland itself; sometimes again
the whole shebang together. Frank'
O'Connor, in. his latest collection
of stories, seems superficially to
adhere to this tradition: most of
his stories are about boys who run
away, or girls who marry men
their families don't approve of, or
priests who begin to find their Irish
Catholic conventions are not lib-
eral enough. But it is not so much
rebellion O'Connor is interested in
as reconciliation. 'People mostly
come back," he says at the end
of one story, "but their protest re-.
mained to distinguish them from
all the others who had never run
away." The running away is im-
portant, for him, mostly as proof
of the value of what there is to
come back to.
With this predisposition, O'Con-1
hor is at his best in light, anecdotal
stories, where he can assume the4
air of a comfortable, happy man
you'd meet in a pub. Such a story
is "Orpheus and His Lute," which
begins, "There's no music now
like there was in the old days."
It's the tale of the Irishtown band,
once the best in all Dublin. Their
prowess as musicians was depend-
ant largely on their ability to out-
drink everybody else in the city.
They met their downfall one cold,
wet, winter night whern, dead broke
and all of them dying for a drink,
they pawned their instruments.
When . the word got around, of1
course, none of their patrons wouldf
given them a penny to redeem thet
instruments in time for the St.
Patrick's Day parade. The band
perished with a flourish, though. z
They wiped up the streets with a7
rival band, took away their instru-
ments, and led the parade. When
the police arrived, they marchedr
into Bridewell prison playing "Auldi
Lang Syne." O'Connor handles
this kind of story brilliantly. Likes
Synge, he has a real gift for using
the rich language of the Irish low- t
er classes.
IN HIS MORE serious stories,t
O'Connor usually shows us char-s
acters in the process of getting a
revalation. Sometimes it's a child;
in "The Face of Evil," the hero isc
a boy who's always been what her

calls "a saint." He keeps tabs on
his sins in a notebook and yet has
managed to be one of the boys. His
revelation comes when he tried to
redeem a very unregenerate friend.
The friend makes a valiant
attempt, goes to confession, but
isn't able to keep it up. The hero,
seeing his friend sink back into
the mire of sin, gets his revalation:
"I wanted to go with Charlie and
sc'are his fate. For the first time
I realized that the life before me
would have complexities of emo-
tion that I couldn't even imagine."
Sometimes the revelation comes
to an adult, like Anna in "The Cus-
tom of The Country," who is "sud-
denly filled with a great sense of
liberation and joy. The strain of.
being a Henebry-Hayes is some-
thing you cannot appreciate until
it is lifted," so off she goes to join
her bigamist husband.
In all of these stories, it is as
if O'Connor saw the world as an
infinate series of concentric circles
of awareness. The larger your cir-
cle is, the more aware you are of
the significance or insignificance
of life's conventions. In each story,
he carefully works out the revela-
tion by. which a character gets
from a smaller circle to a larger
one. What is somehow disappoint-
ing about O'Connon is his lack of
desire to see the entire series as
a whole, or to draw the ultimate
circle of death or exile around the
THE SPIRIT which motivates
O'Connor, and which moves his
characters from one circle of
awareness to another, is the spirit
of common sense. Probably the
greatest implement of common
sense is the rule-of-thumb and Mr.
O'Connor abounds with them. For
instance, "Unapproved Route" be-
gins "Between men and women,
as between neighboring states,
there are approved roads which
visitors must take. Others take
at their peril, no matter how high-
minded their intentions may be."
The story that follows is simply an
illustration of this rule of com-
mon sense. Whatever else com-
mon sense involves, it does not
involve mysteries. It is concern-
ed with values that can be spokent
straight out, without recourse tos
symbols. All the values that mo-Y
tivate O'Connor's characters arel
described quite correctly, both as
to quality and quantity. As a re-
sult, they sometimes seem a littlec
The worst that can happen to at
character who conducts himself oyf
rules of common sense is meeting3

an experience that will make him
"sadder but wiser." This is the
fate of all of O'Connor's charact-
ers who do not become "happier
and wiser." The possibility of com-
ing to a tragic end is as far from
them as the possibility of becoming

All this is not to say that O'Con-
nor is not a careful workman, or
that his stories are dull. They are
beautifully put together, and the
play of irony within them pre-
vents them from ever being lethar-
gic or sentimental. But still, the
common-sense world to which he

limits himself is stifling by the
time you have finished More
Stories. You long to read about
people who risk more than the loss
of some time on a love affair, and
who risk their souls, as well as
their social acceptability on reli-

A New Look at Old Relationship
Mother-Daughter, By a Craftsman

TOMORROW, the United States
Senate convenes in special ses-
sion to act on recommendations
submitted by the Select Commit-
tee To Study Censure Charges.
Senate Resolution 301, to censure
Senator Joseph R. McCarthy (R.-
Wis.), was submitted by Senator
Ralph E. Flanders (R.-Vt.) on
July 30 climaxing a stormy career
in which the junior senator from
Wisconsin made newspaper head-
lines with charges, counter charg-
es, exposes and sensationalized
Serving on the committee with
Senator Arthur Watkins, (R-Utah),
chairman, were John C. Stennis
(D-Miss.), Frank Carlson (R-Kan.),
Francis Case (R-S.Dak.), Sam J.
Ervin, Jr. (D-N. Car.) and Vice-
Chairman Edwin C. Johnson (D.-
They were authorized by the
Senate to investigate and hold
hearings on more than 30 charg-
es of various forms of misconduct
submitted by Senator Flanders,
Senator Wayne Morse (Ind.-
Ore.) and Senator William Full-
bright (D.-Ark.).

To a certain extent, the Watkins
Committee was appointed by Sen-
ator Richard Nixon for the anony-
mity of its members. Although ex-
perienced in judicial proceedings,
none of the six Senators were na-
tionally prominent or on record as
being rabidly opposed to or in sym-
pathy with McCarthy.
Aug. 24, after preliminary hear-
ings, Senator McCarthy was in-
formed that the charges had been
reduced to 13, divided into five

As noted in the
tee report these
their subdivisions

official commit-
categories and

United States employes to violate
the law and their oaths of office.
3) Incidents involving receipt or
use of confidential or classified
document or other information
from executive files.
4) Incidents involving abuses of
colleagues in the Senate.
5) Incident relating to Ralph W.
Zwicker, United States Army Gen-
Final conclusions of the com-
mittee as submitted to the sec-
ond session of the 83rd Congress
called for a censure of Senator
Senator Watkins and his col-
leagues found Senator McCarthy
"contemptuous, contumacious and
denunciatory without reason or jus-
tification" in his actions toward
Senator Hendrickson and his sub-
They found his conduct "uncon-
donable and improper."
And for his actions toward Gen-
eral Zwicker, the committee rec-
ommended censure claiming that
McCarthy was "reprehensible."
At the outset of their hearings,
the Watkins Committee said, "This
sub-committee has but one object

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The Bad Seed. By William.
ONE OF THE more anticipated
productions of this Broadway
theater season is Maxwell Ander-
son's adaptation of William March's
novel, "The Bad Seed," published
last spring.
The work was the last by this
writer from New Orleans for he
died shortly after its publication.
His previous writings had for the
most part been critically success-
ful, but not commercially. Two
years ago he wrote "October Is-
land" which had a fair degree of
Most of his readers, and his
critics, however, agree that March
(real name: William March Camp-
bell) did his best writing in his
last work.
"The Bad Seed" is a grim little
horror story. It is excellent.
The book centers around a nine-
year-old girl and her mother. There
has been a rise in recent times of
novels with children as their pro-
tagonists. From J. D. Salinger's
adolescent Holden Caulfield in
"The Catcher in the Rye" to Davis
Grubb's youngster John Harper in
"The Night of the Hunter," the
character has warmth and the sym-
pathy of the reader. But there is

a lot of difference in the case of
Rhoda Penbroke.
Rhoda is an overtly sweet, po-
lite, excessively neat little girl
with an ethical code all her own. At
the tender age of nine, she has
three murders to her credit.
THE STORY revolves around
Christine Penbroke and her at-
tempts to comprehend, to under-
stand her daughter's actions and
possible motives.
The girl had always been quietj
and peculiarly advanced for her
age (at any age) and continually
seemed to know what kind of a!
mood her parents were in, especial-
ly her mother, so she could act ac-
cordingly and get her way.
When the novei opens, Rhoda is
furious to discover that the school
penmanship medal she had so cov-
eted was given to another pupil
though she adamantly insists "ev-
eryone knows that it's rightfully
mine." The class goes off on their
annual picnic, the boy wearing his
medal, Rhoda taunting him end-
lessly. Rhoda returns home and
to her mother's surprise and joy,
she does not mention the medal.
Listening to the radio, Christine
hears -the boy is missing and fear-
ed drowned. It isn't long before
the body is recovered, minus his

Christine becomes suspicious but
then realizes that she suspects her
own daughter. She tries to pass
the whole incident off as mere co-
incidence but it all seems to fit in-
to too precise a pattern.
The school's mistresses send their
regrets but find they must release
Rhoda from their rolls. Demand-
ing an explanation, she is told,
among other things, that during the
picnic, Rhoda was continually seen
following and really persecuting
the boy-that she was in fact the
last to see him alive.
Christine finds the medal among
her daughter's things. When faced
with this reality, Rhoda is almost
defiant-almost positive her moth-
er will not tell anyone.
WITH HER husband in South
America on business, Christine
does not know whom to turn to.
A neighbor tries to help her when
she believes Christine to be down-
cast. And what can the latter say?
She has no proof, only inklings.
But then she remembers the old
woman who lived near them in
Baltimore before they moved West.
She suddenly fell down a flight of
stairs to her death. The old wo-
man had something she'd promis-
ed Rhoda who wanted the trinket
very much.
Christine tries talking to a friend
who write well-conceived murder
mysteries about motives, especially
in children, but it doesn't help her
nor does it solve anything.
Where is the line between reality
and imagination? Christine begins
to search her mind for she had
to know something, yet knew not
how she could find it. She faces
reality when she surprises Rhoda
trying to throw her new shoes down
the incinerator. These shoes have
metal clips at the heels. The dead
boy had ,sharp marks on his hands
and forehead. Perhaps he had
hung on the ledge of the precipice
before drowning.
Now Christine is sure about her
daughter's action (or is it actions?)
and she need only find the reason.
She remembers that Rhoda had al-
ways been different from other
girls. Her husband and she had
tried to make her happy and at-
tempted to understand her. Where
had they failed? Where had she
failed, for, she is sure it was a
fault of hers-something she had
done to her daughter.
.Christine becomes desperate.
Then vaguely she remembers that
she once asked her mother whe-
ther she were adopted. By chance,
Christine learns of a famous mur-
See MOTHER'S, Page 8

Two Beautiful Reasons

1) Incidents of contempt of the
Senate or a Senatorial Commit-
te. Repeated refusals to appear
before Senate committees, fail-
ing to supply information to the
Senate Sub-Committee on privi-
leges and elections, denouncing
the Sub-Committee, showing gen-
eral contempt for the Senate and
calling Senator Robert Hendrick-
son (R-N.J.) a "living miracle
without brains or guts," were
included in this charge.
2) Incidents of encouragement of

and that is to reach an impar
and proper conclusion based u
At the conclusion, they rec
mended censure on two of the
charges and severely criticized:

... this is the ar


Why "Little Evenings" A
Our Felt Skirt And Jun
*\ \
M~i4; L,


ME 71

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