Flannery O'Connor's Country of the Soul
Keywords:Flannery O'Connor, iconoclastic Catholicism, myth, soul, comedy
AbstractO'Connor's Catholicism takes an iconoclastic stand against religion that privileges subject superiority. Using violence as a means to shatter comfort in the separation such superiority presupposes, O'Connor brings her characters into direct confrontation with natural figures and objects--animals, trees, rocks, clay-- to draw attention to their soul energies in God's world. This essay offers a new way to appreciate Flannery O'Connor's spiritual intentions by invoking Neoplatonic ideas of the anima mundi (soul in the world), mythic understanding of the connection among all life forms, as well as depth psychologist James Hillman's re-visioning psychology. According to these strands, the cosmos is alive, sacred, and intentional and has lessons to teach pious Bible thumpers about the breadth of an animating spirit in the surrounding world.
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