Re Mr. Head and the action of Grace;
"About the novel of religious conversion. You can't have a stable character being converted, you are right, but I think you are wrong that heroes have to be stable. If they were stable there wouldn't be any story. It seems to me that all good stories are about conversion, about a character's changing. If it is the Church he's converted to, the Church remains sstable and he has to change as you say - but why do you say the charcter has to remain stable? The action of Grace changes a character. Grace can't be experienced in itself. An example: when you go to Communion, you receive grace but you experience nothing; or if you do experience something, what you experience is not the grace but the emotion caused by it. Therefore in a story all you can do wwithgrace is to show that it is changing the character. Mr. head (in the Artificial Nigger) is changed by his experience even though he remains Mr. Head. He is stable but not the same man at the end of the story. Staable in the sense that he bears the same physical contours and pecularities but they are all ordered toa new vision. Part of the difficulty of all this is that you write for an audience who deons't know what grace is and don't recognize when they see it. All my stories are about the action of grace on a character who is not very willing to support it, but most people think of these stories as hard, hopeless, brutal etc."
That last sentence is the KEY to "getting" this magnificent artist.
Great quote. Here's one for you:
"All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful...Human nature is so faulty that it can resist any amount of grace [I don't think she means this literally; I think she means "a little or quite a lot"] and most of the time it does."
In my early adulthood, it was my discovery of O'Connor's letters that brought me back to the Church.
posted on 07/04/2002 7:59:35 PM PDT
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