Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Flannery O'Conner against gnosticism

I’ve been reading Flannery O'Conner's The Nature and Aim of Fiction. (in Mystery and Manners.) Very thought provoking and engaging.

She says: "People have a habit of saying, "What's the theme of your story?" and they expect you to give them a statement: "The theme of my story is the economic pressure of the machine on the middle class"-or some such absurdity. And when they've got a statement like that, they go off happy and feel it is no longer necessary to read the story."

Reminds me of people who used to brag about their ability "to 'beat' Myst (or the like) in 10 min!" I have this awesome dvd player that lets me watch a 2 hour movie in 2 minuets! But that just goes to show how different Myst was from most computer games and why it appealed so much to non-gamers. Back to Flannery...

"Some people have the notion that you read the story and then climb out of it into the meaning, but for the ficiton writer himself the whole story is the meaning, because it is an experience, not an abstraction."

Some people here could refer to a lot of modern evangelical Christian artists, or any artist or writer who cares more about ideas then people or loves theology more then God.

"They are conscious of problems, not of people, of questions and issues, not of the texture of existence, of case histories and everything that has sociological smack, instead of with all those concrete details that make actual the mystery of our position on earth."


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