Flannery O’Connor and Fiction–How to Convey Truth and Morality

Courtesy of Wikipedia
Courtesy of Wikipedia

Within her collection of essays entitled Mystery and Manners, Flannery O’Connor addresses the issue of reflecting joy in American literature, claiming that the writer is apt to show the “darkest view” of his country when talking about spiritual values. Regardless of how positive some aspects of his culture may be (for instance, the unparalleled prosperity of America), he will focus on the most “glaring…distortions” because this is what he knows and believes to be true in life. In O’Connor’s words, “The storyteller is concerned with what is.” She believes that the writer, especially the Christian writer, should employ his sense of mystery, to exercise his sense of “moral judgment,” and to convey what he believes to be reality.

I agree with O’Connor in that the writer should convey with what he believes to be true, yet I hope that writers will edify their readers without revealing the basest degrees of life. Fiction should reveal life’s mysteries, yet not to the point of depressing their readers. Instead, fiction should leave the reader with a sense of edification, ease, or enjoyment. That is what I also hope to attain in my fiction as I continue to write stories for children and adults alike.

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