Thursday, February 6, 2014

Hillbilly Nihilist

This theme was actually particularly interesting to me. When I read O'Connor in high school I was actually pseudo taught (if not taught it was strongly implied) that O'Connor herself was a Nihilist. Her writing's were given to us and presented as a means to inform us of Nihilism... but... "I do not think she was saying what my teacher thought she was saying" .... **Insert Inigo Montoya voice and Princess Bride reference**

I mean, we definitely see O'Connor presenting that idea.. but almost in a grandiose and comical way.  I mean... she is borderline making fun of it.

You can see this in Wise Blood when the advice columnist replies to Sabbath's letter in the manner that she does and even more recently in the quote from Hulga's science book.

So I guess I want to ask, would you have thought O'Connor was a Nihilist if we weren't told better?
Why did my teacher think she was? If my teacher was not a Nihilist himself, he was definitely anti-Christian... so he almost presented it in a way to promote doubt in us rather than showing us what O'Connor was really saying. In fact, the assumption that O'Connor is a Nihilist not only falls short of her purpose but of a lot of the richness...

For example, when Hulga's Nihilism is challenged, when she is made a fool of... the richness is not in that there are mean people in the world who pretend to be Christians... it's that in her insistence that the power of her mind transcends the silly, simple, good country people... she is still found lacking.

Maybe I'm still missing it.

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