We Choose Not to See the Freaks Among Us, and We Are Surprised When They Kill

The reason why Flannery O'Connor and other Southern writers often wrote about "freaks," she said, was because "we are still able to recognize one." Writing about murderers, racists, traveling Bible-selling hypocrites, O'Connor was a master of her art, the strange genre she called grotesque. It was her way of telling the truth through lies and good through evil.Such writing was possible, she said, because for the most part, Southern writers still held "some conception of the whole man," a faint notion of the imago Dei, the idea that God still bore his stamp upon us, his preternatural grace still present like a shadow cut across our souls. It's what makes our pathetic evil visible at all, this countervailing figure.It's why she wrote about freaks so well, because she knew the original form.  Continue reading...

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