The tough little girls are the wise ones. They’re survivors. They see the two contradictory elements of truth that sum up the Catholic vision: on the one hands the supernatural present everywhere, and on the other hand, the gritty no nonsense hardness of the real world.
So O’Connor endorses the miraculous, seeing God’s glory crammed into every living thing, and spilling over into miracles of providence and curious twists of enlightenment. On the other hand, she is totally, utterly no nonsense. She takes no c**p from nobody.
I delight in the way she exposes the conceited, unrealistic, shallow and immature intellectuals with the violent, bizarre and wildly ordinary folk. She rips social conventions, hypocrisy and shallow self righteousness at the same time exalting genuine innocence, goodness and naivety. She also exposes the individualistic, anarchical, insanity that is the logical result of sectarian Protestantism, and she does so by showing that the uptight, self righteous, ‘sane’ social Protestants are just as looped as the fanatical kooks. Mrs Greenleaf the ‘prayer healer’ and self righteous Mrs May are equally grotesque.
Often the sane person in the story is a tough little girl. The wisdom of God is revealed to the little children remember…This recent read through of her fiction is full of treasures. In A Temple of the Holy Ghost you almost yell with joy as the tough little wise wild child cries out, “Lord, Lord, thank you that I am not in the Church of God!”