Pleasure and Pain

Reading Flannery O'Connor is a form of pleasurable shock treatment.  Here are some quotes I love:

"...the maximum amount of seriousness admits the maximum amount of comedy."

"People are always complaining that the modern novelist has no hope and that the picture he paints of the world is unbearable.  The only answer to this is that people without hope do not write novels.  Writing a novel is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay.  I'm always highly irritated by people who imply that writing fiction is an escape from reality.  It is a plunge into reality and it's very shocking to the system.  If the novelist is not sustained by a hope of money, than he must be sustained by a hope of salvation, or he simply won't survive the ordeal."  from Mystery and Manners

"My subject in fiction is the action of grace in territory held largely by the devil."

"We lost our innocence in the Fall, and our return to it is through the Redemption which was brought about by Christ's death and by our slow participation in it.  Sentimentality is a skipping of this process."