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ellyn@wordonfire.org - 2/6/2012 4:38:26 PM
   
More on the "freaks" Does anyone else wonder if some of her view of the freak (specifically the one at the carnival) is formed by her own suffering and acceptance of the lupus, which had taken her father, that would handicap and eventually kill her?  In the sense of her being somewhat set apart...and accepting the fate that was hers? 

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patriciawilson27 - 2/7/2012 2:44:31 PM
   
RE:More on the "freaks" I don't think Flannery thought of herself as a 'freak'; indeed, I don't think she thought of the person in the tent as a 'freak'. She often said that readers/critics would get upset at the horrors/grotesques in her writing, but she saw that they usually latched on to the wrong horror. Since the afflicted person in the tent totally accepted her/his condition as God's will, that person, like Flannery, was normal. The freaks in the story are the silly cousins, the young men who refer to 'Jew singing'. Flannery was asked to write an introduction to abook by the Atlanta, Georgia Dominican Sisters for the Relief of Incurable Cancer. They wrote about Mary Ann, a young girl they cared for until her death. Mary Ann's face was hideously deformed by a tumor that covered most of her face, but her spirit was gloriously happy with her situation, her God, and those in the home whom she loved. Flannery described her, not as a 'freak', but as a very rich young girl. (note that the Dominican Sisters mentioned above were founded by Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, daughter of author Nathaniel Hawthorne. Rose was a wife, mother, poet, author, religious sister, founder of a religious order, and is now on her way to canonization.)
Flannery seemed to accept her lupus with grace and with humor. When she had to use crutches to get around, she described herself as having 'flying buttresses'. In addition, she continued to meet visitors to her home; she did not demonstrate a need to hide herself away.

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Suzie - 2/9/2012 3:11:02 PM
   
RE:More on the "freaks" O'Connor's fascination with the freak and grotesque is interesting to ponder.  Her mother asked her publisher if he could get her to write stories about nice people.  It seemed her mother could not understand her daughter's imagination and where all these stories came from.  Part of it must be due to her and her father's lupus, but also a large part of must come from being a devout Catholic in the Bible belt South.  She had such a rich interior life and such an inquiring mind, that is just not common in any time and region.  I am so glad she shared her gift with us. 

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terri2000 - 2/9/2012 8:07:01 PM
   
RE:More on the "freaks"  I really don't think of O'Connor as being fascinated with the freak and the grotesque but rather with the human reaction to, and impact of, the 'different'.  I had not ever read this particular story and was intrigued with the contrasting reactions of the fair patrons of the 'freak show' and that of the preachers. The imagery of the sun,  huge red ball "like an elevated Host drenched in blood" seems to comment, suffering either way, both reactions produce the same result, emphasizing the otherness, enforcing isolation and ostracizing.

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