Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Flannery O'Connor

O'Connor described herself as a "pigeon-toed child with a receding chin and a you-leave-me-alone-or-I'll-bite-you complex." When O'Connor was six she taught a chicken to walk backwards, and it was this that led to her first experience of being a celebrity. The Pathé News people filmed "Little Mary O'Connor" with her trained chicken, and showed the film around the country. She said, "When I was six I had a chicken that walked backward and was in the Pathe News. I was in it too with the chicken. I was just there to assist the chicken but it was the high point in my life. Everything since has been anticlimax.”

O'Connor's reaction to Langkjaer's abrupt departure from her life—the writer's inspired revenge on her erstwhile "material"—can be gauged by the brilliantly acidulous short story "Good Country People," clearly modeled after O'Connor's thwarted romance, in which a crudely manipulative Bible salesman kisses the one-legged philosophy Ph.D. Joy/Hulga prior to running off with her wooden leg.

American Southern Gothic Catholicisim; what's not to like?

No comments: