So um... WHAT?

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"But as in all of O'Connor's stories, the violent surface action only  begins to suggest the depths and complexities of meaning embedded in the story. This is especially true when considering the mystery of evil and its relation to the action of grace (Desmond 129)."

In Desmond's essay Flannery O'Connor's Misfit and the Mystery of Evil, I realized very shortly in that it seemed that his thesis wasn't being well represented.  In fact, I found more statments opposing it, than supporting it.  From the statement above, we can see that main focus is on the 'violent surface action' and its relation to grace and mystery.  So in my opinion, I guess we are trying to figure out if violence is evil or justified? (Compare and contrast paper maybe?)

I focused on the first 3 pages of the essay and I found that the gereral gist was that Desmond was going back and forth on whether the Misfit was good or bad. I found a lot of supporting evidence that stated that he wasn't evil for ex:

"At the same time, it is also true to say that, excepting Satan, no one should be called totally evil, certainly not in any absolute sense (129).

"...evil has no being, and that evil always appears as a good to the one who commits it, i.e., as something good for him (129)."

"The desire itself is good; the Psalms exalt the human longing for a world of justice and constancy (130)."

To me, it's as if Desmond is saying (although not in a literal tense), the misfit is evil, but then showing countless examples of how he technically isn't.  Honestly, I feel that there is an extreme lack of focus here to the thesis statement, and the paper itself.  Angela makes a good statement on her blog about this as well.

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Editied 3/12/08

We focused a great deal of our lecture  on this piece today.  When I first read Desmond's piece, my first reaction was as I stated above in my entry.  I understand why he was 'wishy washy' in his saying. He was producing both sides of the character, which is a good for a compare and contrast for the reader. I also get the fact about him implenting this to show that one person can not be wholly good nor wholly bad.

Still, my only problem with Desmond is his lack of focus with his thesis statement. With the way he stated it, I had no idea that he was going to present both sides of the issue.  Desmond writes a great analysis on the story, I just think that he should have been more specific to this thesis.

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3 Comments

Richelle Dodaro said:

I felt that his statement about the violent surface was vague and confusing. He did jump from the Misfit being good to evil, but I think he does this to show exactly why he is called the Misfit.

Greta Carroll said:

Stephanie, I think Desmond’s jumping between the Misfit being evil and not is done intentionally. The author’s point is that it is never clear what is evil and what isn’t. The Misfit is not totally evil, just as there is no totally “good man”. Desmond is not going to come to a conclusion about whether the Misfit is evil or good, since no one can be wholly one or the other.

Katie Vann said:

I liked your comment Gretta. I didn't think of looking at those statements that way. At first I had agreed with Steph, but after reading your comment I looked back over some of the passages and can see where the jumping back and forth may have been done intentionally. And I liked how Richelle stated that this may have been done to prove that he is indeed a Misfit, failing to fall into either category.

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Katie Vann on So um... WHAT?: I liked your comment Gretta. I
Greta Carroll on So um... WHAT?: Stephanie, I think Desmond’s j
Richelle Dodaro on So um... WHAT?: I felt that his statement abou