Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"I been leavened by the yeast he don't believe in," he said, "and I won't be burned."

Today in my Libertarian-Conservatism Debate class, we were discussing the Robby George reading and I couldn't help thinking of this passage from Flannery O'Connor's "You Can't Be Any Poorer Than Dead" in relation to relativism, moral and "otherwise." I'm not one to keep good things all to myself (especially good writing!), so I thought I should share. The stranger is talking to the main character, Tarwater, as he digs his great-uncle's grave (well, should be digging--he starts drinking right before this passage).

“It should be clear to you,” his kind friend said, “how all your life you been tricked by that old man. You could have been a city slicker for the past years. Instead, you been deprived of any company but his, you been living in a two-story barn in the middle of this earth’s bald patch, following behind a mile and plow since you were seven. And how do you know the education he give you is true to the fact? Maybe he taught you a system of figures nobody else uses? How do you know that two added to two makes four? Four added to four makes eight? Maybe other people don’t use that system. How do you know if there was an Adam or if Jesus eased your situation any when He redeemed you? Or how you know if He actually done it? Nothing but that old man’s word and it ought to be obvious to you by now that he was crazy. And as for Judgment Day,” the stranger said, “every day is Judgment Day.”

I highly recommend reading the entire short story if you have not already done so, which I would be happy to lend to you or make a copy of, if you are so interested. I turned in my Flannery O'Connor research paper yesterday (I finished it around 6:30 a.m.; I even heard the bird chirping outside!). My favorite criticism used in the paper was written by scholar John R. Mays: “Thus the story takes exception to the stranger’s slogan when it suggests that one can be poorer than dead: one can be alive without meaning, or, worse still, with perverted purpose.” Well said!

Today's my Little's birthday, so I made her signs, colored them with crayons, and posted them on her door. Last class at 9, Senior scavenger hunt at 10, thesis-ing all night long. Hello Kate A. Turabian, we meet again!

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