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March 22, 2006

Temple of the Holy Ghost

O'Connor, '''A Temple of the Holy Ghost'' -- Jerz: American Lit II (EL 267)

"I don't dispute it. This is the way he wanted me to be."

This young 12 year old was very intelligent and she and everyone around her knew it. How many twelve year olds would be able to make sense of this comment made by the "freak" at the fair?? She was very cunning which was obvious how she convinced her cousins to share the story at the fair. I want to say that this child was just a snotty child, but she really was smart. Even at 12, she knew how foolish suzan and joanne were.

Seriously, Suzan and Joanne had to of been pretty dumb to not question the child's comment that the bunny spit 6 babies out of her mouth!

Posted by OnileeSmith at March 22, 2006 03:51 PM


Yes, she is highly intelligent, and I think that her pride stems in part from that trait. After all, instead of asking Susan and Joanne to explain the freak's comment, she instead chooses to try to puzzle it out herself, just as you've pointed out here.

Posted by: ChrisU at March 23, 2006 02:49 AM

Flannery O'Connor has been very deliberate about drawing attention to people's physical defects.

However, these characters also seem to have other defects too, moral or personality defects.

The carnival freak's defect in this story is not entirely viewed as something condemning. Even the people who were there uttered "amen" when the freak said something to the effect of "God made me this way and I don't dispute it."

Do you think O'Connor is framing the 14-year-olds' stupidity as a defect? As a technical matter, O'Connor would have trouble doing that unless she had an intelligent person with whom she could contrast them.

Similarly, the 12-year-old sees her own pride as a defect, one that could easily bar her from sainthood. Her pride (arrogance, in a couple of spots) and intolerance of others she deems less intelligent, makes her "ugly" to some of those around her. So, does that make it a defect too?

Posted by: Matt Hampton at March 24, 2006 10:11 AM

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