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(Anti?) Christ figure

Foster (6-9, 11, 14) -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

"Don't even have to be good. (See the stories of Flannery O'Connor for example after example.)"

This passage made me think the Misfit is kind of a Christ figure. It seems weird, but he has some disciples, and he confronts someone whose beliefs are opposite his in the wilderness. He almost has a mission in life to do as much "meanness" in the world as possible. He's like Jesus Christ in reverse. Like Jesus, he seems to be constantly consumed by questions of what lies beyond and is trying to learn about the kind of life a person "should" lead. The grandmother presents him with temptation from his destructive way of life when she makes a compassionate and loving gesture to him. In fact, she is compared to a "snake" at this moment--Satanic imagery! Like Christ, the Misfit rejects the temptation and continues on his lonely path which in a way is a cross to bear. It's not a "pleasure" for him to kill people, but he seems to feel like it's his mssion in life. I don't know. It's a weird theory, but I thought I'd put it out there.

Comments (5)

Chera Pupi:

Wow! I have to say that I would have NEVER thought of comparing the two until I read this. You have some convincing arguments though. You definately got me thinking.


Now that I look at it, it's an applicable judgment, but I have to wonder if it's anything the author would have wanted us to assume? It's a neat conclusion, but what impact does it have on the interpretation of the rest of the story?

Jara White:

wow you make some really great points, I think as I was reading the story and trying to figure out what was going on it was easier to try and see the grandmother as the Christ figure instead of the bad guy but your interpretation of it works alot better and makes more sense out of the story.

Lorin Schumacher:

I read the story (well the whole collection of stories) over break and I hadn't read Foster yet, but when I was reading that exact part that is exactly what I was thinking (and was going to blog on, whew, good thing I try to read the posted entries first or that would have been redundant!) As soon as Foster pointed out that the Christ-like figure didn't actually have to be good, I thought aha! And having read all of the stories already, I knew instantly that O'Conner is the exact kind of author who would do such a thing and since Jerz put these chapters with this work, well let's just say that was probably as accidental as O'Conner's construction of the Misfit's character and situation.

Yes, Lorin, there's a method to my madness. (You seem to enjoy putting the pieces together.)

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