Flannery O’Connor

The Lost Art of the South

A gift from my musically esoteric boyfriend, my record player has been my proverbial time capsule to the American Southlands I call home. I load dusty albums from the past–kings and queens of country–on the record’s arm and they drop by themselves. So I stack up five of those melancholy discs, and listen to the A-sides. They play through, drop down, and I flip and start with the B-sides. Sadness, coated with betrayal, layered with loss, all held within the grooves of the black vinyl. These artists sing a different tune than the post-millennial country. They sing about dusty clay roads, but they also sing about the lowest lows of desolation and the prayers of the darkest night. They sing about prison and adultery, tragedy and comfort. Their words are not contrived and sometimes not even catchy–slow and dull and long–dragging on one continuous chord. But they come from a place exclusive to the South, a place that the South could be forgetting.

I was raised in and by the hills of Virginia so I am acquainted with bluegrass and the bucolic banjo pluck of the Appalachians. Life in the South to me has meant mountains and magnolias, bourbon and a sauntering pace of life. But until recently, I did not know the darkness of the deep musical movements coming from the South less than a half century ago. In this place, in the acapellas of low sadness and the hymns of wandering, I have found camaraderie with the land that hemmed and honed me as a young woman and as a contributor to family and place. The deeper I listen to Emmylou Harris, Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and the like, the deeper I enter the old South; a place where despondency, pride, and revelry exist within each other. Ever since the needle scratched and crackled through that first disc, the open space between me and my homeland, and all her past sins, triumphs, and profundity, has sealed.

Emmylou Harris was quoted recently in Garden & Gun magazine saying that she has given up on present-day country radio. “It no longer has that washed-in-the-blood element,” she said. And she’s right, alluding to this spiritually infused land where God is seen more with dirty shoes holding out redemption, rather than a glowing halo bestowing blessings. Some present-day artists–Gillian Welch, Patty Griffin, David Rawlings in particular–hold fast to the tenets of powerful, bleeding and vulnerable music of the South, but these artists are rare. The influence of the South is too often watered down to an occasional mechanized twang, girls who wear dresses with cowboy boots, and cheap beer cans. And behind the barbeque and pickup trucks, we have lost, or are at least losing, our edge.

William Faulkner at work.

It’s the same edge that the writers of our Southern fiction have made famous. The place of darkness which honed the literary voices of Flannery O’Connor’s grotesque, Edgar Allan Poe’s nightmares, and William Faulkner’s pontifications on death. The South provided a backdrop unmatched by other geographies, fostering art that feeds on our ability to make the worst of our lot.

This land of moonshine and muskets belies a deep disenchantment. O’Connor wrote that since we lost the war in the 19th century, we have ‘had our fall’–the type of fall that keeps the whole populace awake to their potent inability to pride themselves on themselves. We are aware that we can believe deeply and still, with sweat and blood, lose everything. The artists who embody the South do not wash worries in whimsy, but attempt connection amidst isolation, loss, and disillusionment.

Flannery O’Connor herself said that we may not be Christ-centered as much as we are ‘Christ-haunted.’ And these ghosts, as much as they keep us fearful and frightened, keep us wide-eyed and questioning. We have been the “Bible Belt” for decades, a symbol of centrality as much as corporal punishment. And we Southerners have been beaten by our own faith. We are holy tormented and wholly sanctified.

The South has created from this fallen place and offered the nation a voice otherwise unheard. A perspective cast through an interminable mix of searing nostalgia, bated hope, and a weighty present balanced between the two. For decades, artists let this land mold their perspectives. It was the Southern zeitgeist, and it is this curious mix of hope and sadness.

More recently, the blurring of state and cultural lines has come as a detriment to artists. We lose our senses and loosen our allegiances, as we drift above the lands. As O’Connor said, when we cease to create from the reality of our place, this Southern place, we have lost ourselves, and we have lost the South. Makoto Fujimura has said before, we have a language for the waywardness. What the South is beginning to miss is the language for the ties that bind. So the challenge for Southern artists now is to stay connected–to keep the ankles in the mud and the fires smoldering. To be a product of the palpable senses, and to let the sights, sounds, emotion and memory of your place build your reality and your platform. We need to reorient our perspective to move beyond what we do in the South, beyond fishing, hunting, and cooking with butter, and enter into who we are, in joy and in trial.

And perhaps, optimistically, we can find ourselves anew in the people who understand and channel this spirit, regardless of their geographical upbringing. Because in the end, what the South did was connect in the darkness. It is the invaluable voice of a fallen community that still echoes from my record player, and is still found within my pages of “A Good Man is Hard to Find.”

Johnny Cash sang that he wore black for the sick and lonely, for the reckless, and the mournin’, for the poor and beatin’, and the prisoner and the victim. And as artists create today, perhaps it is our duty to take on the strands and fringes of black both to honor and connect us to the spirit, land and people of our place. So we take from the fragmented pieces of our community’s collective conscience, take the black, and take the blood, and in doing so, create an enduring piece of work, reminiscent of this old melancholy.

Savannah: City In Flux

The lens centers upon a row of boarded up buildings, with tattered siding and leaning roofs. Along the edges of the image, there is a crumbling sidewalk strewn with derelict characters. At night, the streets in this neighborhood shine bright with globes installed by the city.  Behind closed doors, the community rages: shouts of anger burst through a cracked window, a woman calls for help, two kids light up in hopes of drowning reality. Young parents long to see their children graduate high school, to make ends meet on two or three jobs, to find a way to feed each little one. Several middle-aged residents aim to take pride in some small way, perhaps a backyard garden, or a carefully-lit fire blazing in a papered room that is encased behind barred windows. The juxtaposition of brokenness and a grappling towards hope is unmistakable.

Cut and scene. The camera shifts to a different perspective a mere fifteen years down the road. Kids pummel down the street on tricycles, a neighborhood baker greets passersby with a wave and warm smile, boys ready to play basketball lace up beside a flower-crowned bed and get ready for some three-on-three. The aroma of fresh food wafts from building-tops and residents rouse themselves for a bright and early farmer’s market prize as Saturday morning begins to rear its head.

Photo by Elisa Jara.

Recently immersed in a design school project tied to issues of urban revitalization and community change in one of Savannah’s most illustrious neighborhoods, I have found myself longing deeply to bring hopefulness and restoration to my current home yet struggling for answers. As a newcomer to the city, I have been thrown into a melting pot of southern charm, lingering racism, and deep-set hopes and dreams. I came to Savannah from further north with ideas about the things that make a place successful, and more personally the things that make a place enjoyable.

When friends from afar ask me about my experiences, admittedly I often refer to Savannah as a mixed bag. It has so much character: incredible historic architecture and streetscapes, unique and well-seasoned food offerings, and families with generations of rooted traditions. The city also boasts a thriving art and design school that churns out some of the United States’ most vocationally equipped creatives. Simultaneously, though, Savannah has a pungent underbelly that anyone who has spent more than a few weeks in its heart will recall. Well-known for its prevalent crime and racial segregation, Savannah is a city still in the throes of finding its voice.

On the surface Savannah glitters with the charming warmth of the Old South. Known as one of the first planned cities, Savannah developed around several central city squares and small grassy parks. Once populated with horse-drawn carriages, its wide streets and grassy roundabouts facilitated a ready flow of traffic to and from its bustling waterfront corridor. Today, many people still stroll the downtown area’s wide sidewalks well into the night, often with pets or kids in tow. These patrons, many of whom are tourists, frequent the local bars and restaurants for a taste of southern flair and laid back conversation. Paula Deen has set up shop near the old city market, offering a buffet of delicious sweet and sultry regional cuisine to those willing to come early enough to reserve a seat. Around the corner, the Savannah Bee Company sells everything from honeycomb to honey-scented lotions and offers free samples of many of its honey flavors. Yet another shop breathes the air of French culture to Savannah’s visitors, boasting a well-curated collection of jewelry, soaps and scents, books, tasty treats, and vintage furnishings. Such spots make Savannah feel a bit like an eighteenth century port town in which onlookers are transported into a slower way of doing things and where the most important item on the agenda is the dinner menu.

Further from the heart of downtown, Savannah begins to feel more like a Flannery O’Connor novel. O’Connor, notably, grew up in Savannah, so this musing should come as no surprise. Here, the streets are peppered with wandering jobless men and the occasional local gem, such as Back in the Day Bakery. A brief visit to one of Savannah’s Chu’s Market locations will offer a colorful glimpse of local culture, a beat on teen drug and gang activity, and a close-up of the tightly-knit community bonds of those born and raised in its many homes. As an outsider entering into these parts of town, one will probably feel both discouraged by the marks of extreme poverty and surprised by the depth of local character. Crumbling homes are brought to life through carefully-manicured lawns and colorful accents. Groups of elderly men mill around outside local car repair shops and abandoned grocery stores, carrying with them rich stories of community lifeblood, at times pumped rich and at others parched. Teens wander the streets in the late afternoon, some looking for a few bucks through a quick break-in while their peers are busy seeking out friends to accompany them to the park.

I’ve never met a people as courageous and determined as those who live at the crux of these perimeter communities. One, a woodworker, situated his shop in a neighborhood with kids and teens in desperate need of after-school alternatives to crime and drugs in order to serve as a catalyst for change. Another, a local printmaker and professor, opened a Tex Mex-inspired coffee shop housing locally-made furnishings and intriguing art pieces in an area of town desperately in need of more mixed-use development. Yet one more, a local music teacher, regularly gathers up the trash that populates her block, plants flowers along an ill-repaired crackling city sidewalk, and encourages the city to get more involved in her neighborhood.

As I think on Savannah’s future and my own as an urban resident, I am both moved and inspired by those who have chosen to live in the gap as agents of change rather than shirkers of responsibility who escape for an easier, more comfortable way of life. Dwelling in the clutch of the renowned “Garden of Good and Evil,” I have begun to understand, perhaps more deeply than ever, that we always live in the flux between two extremes: brokenness, and great, vast beauty. At times, the immense pain of a community may leave us feeling paralyzed, unable to discern how to help it move forward. But change is never easy, and a place full-dose is rarely what we make of it at first glean. I believe that somehow, in communities like Savannah, we must hold in hand the two extremes. We must be both passionate repairers of the broken walls and patient investors who recognize that a full-spectrum revival probably will not happen in our lifetimes. To reference Jane Jacobs, we must be willing to become the seeds of our cities’ regenerations, those seeds that bring “energy enough to carry over for problems and needs outside [ourselves].” And like Jacobs, we must be content to make our little mark and let the work of future generations extend our efforts into new domains.

On Keeping a Spiritual Travelogue

 

My grandfather’s death absorbed a December ten years ago and cast a long shadow on Decembers to come. Because of this, “getting into the Christmas spirit” now requires me to reflect on death, and I suspect this is the case for many. It’s a fitting meditation for Advent because the birth and death of Christ, and our own death and sense of being made new, all twine together in Christians’ musings.

The long weeks my grandfather was dying let him communicate meaningfully with each of his children, grandchildren, and many of his friends. I say communicate, but he could no longer speak. He’d had surgery on a tumor in his throat. Watery coughs echoed through his trach tube. My mother bought him a clip board and he wrote messages in wobbly block letters. I still have many of them. When it was my turn, he wrote that I should find his spiritual journal. It would be in the bottom drawer of his office filing cabinet.

He died December 17, 1999. That week, midway through my senior year of high school, I hid in a rough polyester armchair in his office. My grandmother pulled papers out of his office closet and threw them away in grief-fueled frenzy. In the armchair, I paged through his journal. It was detailed and meticulous, like most things my grandfather did. Like masking tape labels he stuck on fans and tape-players to tell when they had been purchased and had batteries changed. Like financial records he kept or the way he arranged every detail of his funeral years earlier.

The journal – a “spiritual travelogue,” he dubbed it – began with a timeline of spiritual highlights, mingled with dates of his retirement, his brother’s cancer diagnosis, and other life markers. From there, it was more memoir than diary, complete with a title (JOURNAL OF MY JOURNEY IN FAITH), byline (George Hodges Soule), epigraph (a prayer of John Henry Cardinal Newman’s), and chapters.

It showed marks of many revisions: dates crossed-out and corrected, words circled with question marks, margin notes to explain connections between people or events. While he recovered from a knee replacement in 1996, he meant to type up a good copy and “use the inactivity… as a gift of uncommitted time to make some real headway,” but that’s where his journal ends.

Unpolished and unfinished, it is still one of the most influential things I’ve read.

To tell you why it’s so influential, I have to tell you something about my own spiritual travels that isn’t easy for me to confess. I come from a boisterous evangelical tradition where my friends and immediate family were always clamoring about “what God had done in our lives” lately. Not only were my grandparents from austere New England upbringing, but their generation had an expansive definition of what should be kept private. Faith was, for many, the most private. Not considering these powerful psychosocial pressures, I took my grandparents at face value when I was growing up. Christians talked about being Christians. All the time.

After college, when I spent a month at Southborough L’Abri, it dawned on me what sort of a Christian my grandfather had been. I had conversations at L’Abri about the value of a small but effective Christian life – one that lived out the command to “do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God.” In Southborough, I attended a small Episcopal church, the same sort my grandparents attended. My last day there, the liturgy had us pray “that we may have grace to glorify Christ in our own day.”

Those two insights sketched my grandfather in front of me. He was a Christian in the public sphere, chugging away at the same Du Pont job for years, serving on a community college board, helping more people than he ever let on. The only time I ever remember him putting this faith into words was a time when I was homesick and he drew on rich reserves of personal, spiritual comfort in order to comfort me.

I’m not meaning to absolve my grandparents, or myself, from the need to lovingly communicate the beliefs that were defining them. Indeed, keeping mum about this reminds me of Flannery O’Connor’s story “Greenleaf,” where Mrs. May muses that “the word, Jesus, should be kept inside the church building like other words inside the bedroom.” Mrs. May believes the word “Jesus” should be kept private because she is “a good Christian woman with a large respect for religion, though she does not, of course, believe that any of it was true.” My grandfather was quite far removed from this, but I had no paradigm for his quietness of faith. I value having such a paradigm and now I value the journal he left behind even more.

Sentences like, “God is present in the beauties and wonders of his creation where it is beautiful and wonderful, and in the challenge where it isn’t” come back to me even when the green binder is closed. Events he relates guide my decisions. They are matter-of-fact, yet vulnerable. He describes nourishing, clarifying weeks spent at a Jesuit retreat, and this eventually led me to pick up St. Ignatius’ spiritual exercises. When he records how his psychologist challenged his depressive mid-life crisis, those words shake me: “If you’re so damned religious, what about the sacrament of your marriage?”

His journal is influential as a means of understanding him, but it’s also a way for one generation to understand the spiritual concerns of another. There is much to learn from another generation, even if that lesson is just to listen more closely.

My grandfather’s spiritual journal makes me wish for more conversations about this part of life we share. I know that I have his blood, because there are things I can put in writing that I could never say aloud. I’m certain this is why his journey of finding “the immanence and presence of God, day in and day out” is something he wanted me to discover while the rest of the family was eating cold cuts and wearing black, and to keep reading as his wife channeled her despair into wastebaskets full of shredded paper. He put it in writing and waited for his descendants to grow into it.

The Case for the
Much-Maligned Short Story

The average person, confronted with a free half hour, might spend it watching television or staring at a computer screen – or maybe reading a novel. Maybe. But of those inclined to read, few might read a short story, even it could be finished in that half hour. The short story is the novel’s cousin, sitting in the corner at the party, pleasant looking, full of interesting conversation, but never dancing on the table or telling an outrageous tale at full volume. The short story does not seek attention; it does not market itself. Instead, the short story holds the capacity to stun, inspire, and enrich the life of its reader – but you won’t catch it parading on bestseller lists or Oprah’s Book Club.

It’s easy to dismiss the short story as “apprentice art,” as Barbara Kingsolver suggests in her introduction to the 2001 Best American Short Stories. But writers known more for their stories than anything else – Chekhov, Kafka, Flannery O’Connor, Donald Barthelme, Raymond Carver, Alice Munro, Lorrie Moore, and Tobias Wolff – destroy that theory.

With the proliferation of MFA programs and other creative writing workshops, the short story’s popularity tends to lie heavily among students, would-be writers, and published authors. It is easier to workshop and teach the short story form than the novel, so writers can get more practice with short fiction. We see the two-book deal: a short story collection followed by a novel, as if the collection is just a warm-up. Short stories don’t market well; they rarely make it on the bestseller lists. (Nathan Englander provides one exception, as his book For the Relief of Unbearable Urges spent time on the New York Times bestseller list.)

Despite dismal attention to the short story, several have lately championed the form. Most recently, Dan Wickett of the Emerging Writers Network encouraged readers to observe Short Story Month in May. Wickett set out to read three stories a day – one from a collection, one from a print journal, and one from an online journal. Guest bloggers shared their favorite short stories.

The constraints of the short story form create a unique challenge for the writer. Publishing short stories rarely leads to wealth, or even to earning enough to sustain most writers, so the short story writer does not have to write toward money or a market. The confines of sheer space allow the story to do things a novel does not. Everything counts in short fiction. A writer must push against and with limitations, creating greater tension. A short story is life distilled.

Take Lydia Peelle’s story “Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing.” Peelle writes the story in sections, modeled after a biology textbook’s organization. A woman deals with her disintegrating marriage, loneliness, and the challenges of making it through everyday life. To contrast her emotional struggle to live, Peelle introduces a herpetologist and his reptiles, creatures who exist simply to survive. When the woman tells him about an attempt at suicide, he says, “Trust the body, not the mind…The body loves itself.

A short story demands more from a reader than a lot of novels. Because every choice the writer makes in a short story bears on its meaning and experience, the reader must pay extra attention. No skimming boring passages or breezing through every couple of pages. Reading a short story requires work, arguably more than both nonfiction and novels.

In fiction, the short story’s form allows for experimentation. Though writers needn’t cater to our ever-shortening attention spans, this particular form does allow us to trust the writer long enough to see what will happen.

But because a short story condenses material and requires so much work, it enriches the reader in a way one can’t escape. Like a pithy quote, one can ruminate on a short story for long after the last sentence. The story lingers and echoes in the spaces of our lives. It may be something as simple as an image, or as complex as a change in perspective.

Paul Yoon’s recent collection, Once the Shore, offers the reader several stories set on an imagined island. Something enchanting about the island and its people breathes out of the stories. In the title story, a young man and an older woman each deal with grief, connecting as if through mutual isolation, though they come from separate cultures, generations, and socioeconomic classes.

The short story tells us about culture. While each school of thought upholds a different idea about how art should handle reality, the fact is that how a story handles reality reflects how we see the world.

As common as irony is today, it’s no shock that one might question the sincerity of others and the self. In David Foster Wallace’s story “My Appearance,” an actress prepares for an appearance on television with David Letterman. Her husband coaches her to present her personality in such a way that the character of David Letterman does not destroy her. Essentially, she needs to adopt a false identity in order to show her real one, survive and avoid any ridicule, and appear sincere. The actress seems averse to putting on airs, but in the end, one can only question if she’s triumphed in sincerity or mastered the art of manipulation.

Not only can a story question a character’s motives (and perhaps the reader’s as well), but it can also reveal multiple sides to a person one might rather dismiss or stereotype. In Holly Goddard Jones’s story “Proof of God,” the reader meets a young man who could be anyone, yet commits a crime one might reserve for the truly terrible. She depicts his confusion and humanity alongside his evil nature. The story does not rely on an easy binary of good/evil, but rather asks the reader to see both simultaneously.

Ultimately, short stories challenge us to see our surroundings in new ways. Technical innovation presents what we take for granted as familiar and represents it as foreign. Characters resemble people we may know, and therefore, provide insight, which may lead to compassion. Short stories force us to pause from our frantic lifestyles long enough to think.


Take a second to experience a story in any literary journal, or locate a copy of the PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, Best American Short Stories, or the Pushcart Prize stories.

Mütter Museum’s Gruesome Grace

I am not the sort of person who flips through pictorial medical dictionaries to pass the time. I can’t believe sites like Dictionary.com and MySpace post ads for toenail fungus medicine, and even if I scroll down before the toenail lifts like a trapdoor and the cartoon bug squirms out, I still feel queasy. This summer, though, my husband considered it serendipitous that we were traveling to Philadelphia right after we watched Errol Morris interview Gretchen Worden, the late curator of Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum.

And so, I found myself browsing a collection of over 20,000 anatomical and medical objects, most of them from the nightmarish realm of pathological anatomy. The Mütter museum claims to tell stories about the human experience, and as I swallowed my squeamishness and faced specimens in jars, I realized the morbid collection resonates with Christian ideas of truth, goodness, and even beauty.

This singular museum began in 1858 when Thomas Dent Mütter, surgery professor at Jefferson Medical College, offered his personal collection to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. The museum, located in Rittenhouse Square, exhibits 2,000 objects extracted from people’s throats, a wax model of an elderly Frenchwoman with a long, downward-curving horn growing from her forehead, a plaster cast of famous twins Chang and Eng who were conjoined at the sternum, and the blackened corpse of the “Soap Lady,” who was mummified as her body fat turned to soap around her.

In the galleries, the ravages of leprosy, syphilis, tuberculosis, cancer, birth defects, and many other diseases and abnormalities are behind glass, floating in jars, or cast in wax or plaster. They are unsettling and informative. Pre-Mütter, I had never heard of cutaneous tuberculosis and had no idea the disease could wreak such havoc on a human face-small, pervasive lesions, what look like large red burns, and noses melting away into masses of blood and scabs. I had never seen pictures of smallpox and had no idea that its lesions cover the entire surface of the skin, making faces look like rocks packed full of barnacles, making chests and arms look like a swarm of beetles, and leaving barely anything discernible as human skin.

Specimen after specimen, the galleries can become a bombardment. For me, the images did not arrange themselves into what the brochure had promised-stories about human meaning-until I saw a glimpse of beauty. On a high shelf, the bust of a striking young woman was displayed. Her statue could have been mistaken for an ancient Venus, with the same discreet, downward cast of her eyes and youthful softness of flesh captured in the plaster cast. She could have been mistaken as such, if not for one thing: a tumor the size of a grapefruit on one side of her neck.

It was in seeing this beauty so almost whole that the bombardment became a solid question: what did we do to ourselves in Eden, that we walk around so beautiful and so damaged? It is rare to see the effects of human brokenness all lined up in tidy, dust-free rows, carefully curated with expository tags. It is rare, and vital. This is the human story, behind glass, in its most extreme edges.

These ravages are extreme. But some of us have experienced them, and we must hold onto this. We are prone to hide these things. As a child will hide the smashed vase, we hide the way original sin has broken humanity. We build mental institutions thick and high; we incarcerate old age and deterioration. We recoil rather than face what Eden has done.

Is it because we know that even if our skin is unblemished and our bodies comfortable, this suffering is still our story, one of souls scabbed over, personalities riddled with pocks, psyches melting away? Augustine wrote that we carry within us the witness of our sin. Mütter’s specimens are synecdoche for a whole catastrophe.

We are all grotesques, Flannery O’Connor used to say, even though some of us may not realize it.[1] O’Connor believed that ours is an age “whose deafness requires the raised voice,” says Ralph C. Wood, “and whose blindness demands large and startling figures.”[2] Like a Flannery O’Connor story, the Mütter Museum shouts. It rakes up emotions. “People talk about being ‘grossed out,’ ‘appalled,'” Gretchen Worden told Errol Morris. “Whatever emotional reaction you have, that’s good.” [3]

This is a tour of the Fall, and seeing the effects of humanity’s sin calls for a response that is visceral, not just intellectual.

The Mütter Museum does, unselfconsciously, provide some respite from the bombardment. Looking closely at some of the faces and reading the stories that accompany some of the models shows that damage is not the whole tale.

Take, for instance, the dignity of the young girl shown in two black-and-white photographs in the Mütter collection. She supports herself on her hands, as if she is a gymnast maneuvering on the horse. She supports herself like this because she has no legs. And yet, even as she is being photographed, she looks peaceful, determined. She is a child, probably about ten years old, with her hair pulled back in a ponytail, and yet in her concentration and the calm aura of the photograph she has assurance that some adults haven’t managed.

The landscape of the Fall is not just the landscape of despair but the landscape of redemption, one where we see “hideous beauty and beautiful deformity”-to borrow the phrase Bernard of Clairvaux used to describe the religious art of his day. [4]

Looking at the girl in the black-and-white photographs, “you don’t get the sense of any deformity,” Worden told Errol Morris. [5] Her carriage is graceful. Her spirit shows that there is grace in the abyss.


[1] Muller, Gilbert H. Nightmares and Visions: Flannery O’Connor and the Catholic Grotesque. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1972, 7.

[2] Wood, Ralph C. “Flannery O’Connor’s Witness to the Gospel of Life.” Modern Age Fall 2005: 321.

[3] Morris, Errol. “Smiling in a Jar.” Errol Morris’ First Person: The Complete Series. 60 min. MGM, 2005. DVD.

[4] Muller, 2.

[5] Morris.