I read this the other day after a colleague recommended it on the shuttle during my commute to work. I’d never read O’Connor, but recently I’ve made a point to get more familiar with the American southern gothic literature.
In this short work, O’Connor captures the spirit of American culture and the kernel of what is unique about America. This story has it all: the racism, hypocrisy, religiosity, even the violence that make America what it is. What’s more, she didn’t need a novel to do it. Everything from the entitled, disrespectful children to the patriarchal, irate father is distinctly American, and particularly endemic of the southern culture from which O’Connor herself hailed.
If I ever teach an American culture class again, this will be on the curriculum.