One of my very favorite blogs is IMAGE Journal’s Good Letters blog (which is also housed here at Patheos), and one of my favorite writers for Good Letters is Tony Woodlief, who recently wrote about epiphanies and symbolism and what we believe:
If readers can miss Flannery O’Connor’s symbolism, the same could be expected of anything less subtle. A woman gored by a god-like bull, Parker’s wife beating the face of Jesus on his back with a broomstick—this imagery is thick with Catholic dogmatism, but it’s lost on those ignorant of dogma and the heresies that shaped it.
Not that this bothered O’Connor so much: she believed symbols lose their richness when we undertake to explain them. Chris Taylor’s monologue at the end of Platoon, however, reveals that Stone’s mission is pedagogical, to “teach others what we know.” He’s not just making art, you see. He needs you to know what he’s learned.