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October 07, 1956 - Image 7

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October 7, 1956

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Pace Seven

Octber7,1 9..HEICHGA DALYPrm sven,

i

FLANNERY O'CONNER
A Discussion of the Young Southern Writer's Works
By ROY AKFRS
we thought college girls learned liam Faulkner's preoccupation with Country People," is a piece of The crippled daughter, Joy, on
ONE might suspect that the lass, about only in books. Her talent, evil. And, for ribald humor, she writing of which Miss O'Connor the other hand, is not exactly all
sailing as she does under the if not her worldly wisdom, gained can sometimes outdo Erskine Cald- the things that her name implies.
ame of Flannery O'Connor, is polish in a college writing class, well. But always she remains might well be proud. The story What little wisdom she has was
' straight from Dublin. But she ain't. One has the feeling that Miss cloistered in the role of writer, deals with Mrs. Hopewell and her gleaned, one suspects, in spite of
This gal is from Georgia, and O'Connor writes from the inside never taking it upon herself to crippled daughter, Joy. The mother -and not because of - the Ph.D.
don't you all forget it. And she out through an obviously thick either praise or condem. She is is a woman with an affinit for degree she holds. Joy is one of
writes in the tradition of those skin with all the aloof detachment that rarest of woman scribes- those misfits who learned through
who have exploited the clay hills, of a smug, female penguin peep- one who has control both of a aphorisms, and she has a deep suffering, and will forever doubt
pecker-necks and cornpone into .ug through the knothole of a high pencil and her tongue, and abiding faith in what people that the lessons so learned were
what might be termed--in its board fence while standing on We don't know why the pub- say. Mrs. Hopewell places the worth the painful price of their
higher moments, at least-a lit- thick ice. Still, it is downright un- lisher made "A Good Man Is Hard same confidence in gossip and the attainment.
F erature of sorts. erving to read her book and re- To Find" her title story; except, Bible that the more conventional Despite beiig nagged by her
Perched .onmewhere on the to- ain equally detached. The too maybe, because it is just that-a middle class displays toward the mother to be gay and the constant
tem pole, between the Faulknerized few femme fatales in this would- good title. It might have been Bible, Dwight D. Eisenhower and reminder that "A smile never hurt
prose of Truman Capote and the be reviewer's past have been mostly best to leave the story out alto- the Reader's Digest, anyone," the reader feels that Joy,
clean-cut storytelling of Shirley of the barmaid, "B" girl and taxi gether, and let Miss O'Connor re- H
Anin curan,. Miss 0 Connor's pin dancer variety, And, inloigwiei.PomaloHtsm f er mind is a reflection of that too, sees the symbolism in her
fathers G hine brightly in the dd g peculiar paradox in American rea- mother's name. It is all right for
feathers shne bigthy i the bark upon an apparently wasted her other stories the reader is soning: the intelligence that - the Mrs. Hopewell's of this world
noonday sun among those of thic life, Poor Old Akers can oinly con- well convinced that she is cerr-
more talented, young Southern lua group tainly capable of the task. while knowing an army of a mil- to hope, but only so long as there
writers. She has, to date, mothered . lion soldiers could be wrong - is a valid expectancy of their
andre d She no a d m or they were a pretty naive lot. 0NE of the stories concained m would never doubt a jury of twelve hopes coming true.
ume of short stories. _ Miss O'Connor has some of Wil- this volume, entitled "Good' men of being true. See FLANNERY, Page 15
Her first creation, Wise Blood,
is--to quote the publisher's some-
what misleading blurb-"A Search-
ing Novel of Sin and Redemption."
But it doesn't quite come off that
way. Like W. Somerset Maugham's, f
The Razor's Edge, and William
Faulkner's Requiem For a Nun, it;
fails not in execution but, rather,
in its final intent. The road to sal-
vation is an uphill path, and the
character fabricated by the nov-
elist is detoured, just as easily as I d
his mortal brother, toward the
enchantment of the lower valleys.
Wise Blood is really the story of
Hazel Motes, a would-be evangel-
ist, who preaches on street cor-
ners for The Church Without
Christ. Haze, a recently discharged
soldier, has founded his owns
church in an effort to formulate
his own beliefs. And that, in ef-
feet, is the irony of his own life-
he has no beliefs. In endeavoring
to find belief in disbelief he fin- a
ally dies, and the book finds its I
ending with his body lying a semi-
tragic figure in the gutter.
THE duality of good and evil in
man does not ideally find
fusion. One of them must emerge p
above the other and become the
dominant factor. And Haze's p e6et l
death-if it proves anything-is
that death, although it may be the
great healer, is not necessarily the
great redeemer.
Still, as a study of a lost man's
search for something in nothing-
ness, Wise Blod might well atand
nes-ieBodmgtwl tn as a case history. It is an excellent p e s .
study of evil and tends to show the p
underlying cause of it-a lack of -
love. For love was the one thing
Hazel Motes had neither known '
nor experienced.
One of the glittering facets of
this book is Miss O'Connor's un-
canny knack of description. Mrs.
Wally Bee Hitchcock, for instance,
is summed up in the following sen-
tence: "She was a fat woman with
pink collars and cuffs and pear-
shaped legs that slanted off the
train seat and didn't reach the
floor." Or Onnie Jay Holy, Haze's
self-appointed disciple: "He looked
like an ex-preacher turned cow-
boy, or an ex-cowboy turned mor-
tician. He was not handsome but
under his smile, there was an smart woman, who calls for this Pendleton skirt
honest look that fitted into his
face like a set of false teeth." .. the superb new "Suburbanite", aptly named after the
MISS O'Connor's second pub-
lished work, A Good Man Is busy life it will lead! It's an elegant virgin wool tweed,
Hard To Find, is a more mature
and artfully done work than her tailored with two curving pockets and a waistline
novel. The writing in this vol-

ume of ten stories derives pain so slimming you'll have to see it on yourself to see what we man.
from an already overworked lit-
erary clime, But Miss O'Connor Sizes 10-18 $295 us coloss cooidinated with
flourishes a talented, deadly pencil.
And both the talent and the pen-
cil are ably assisted by an ob- Pendlecons full-fshioned slipon sweate, $8.95; cardigan $11 9
servant eye, an attuned ear, and
an apparent knowledge of things
Mr. Akers has coniributede
both book reviews and articles S hN
to the Sunday Magazine. He is
an avid follower of Southern E. Liberty St. Michigan Theatre Bldg.
writing.

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