A Review of ‘ Flannery O’Connor’s “Spoiled Prophet”’
Theodore William Hendricks reviewed a responseby Flannery O’Connor to a teacher who had sent her an interpretation claiming that she found ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’ misguided. In the review, Hendricks quotes several literature by O’Connor, which emphasize grace and the role of prophets in the context of Catholic faith. Specifically, the author highlights O’Connor’s perception of the story between the grandmother and the misfits in ‘AGoodManisHard to Find’ as a duel of sorts. Notably, the article by Hendricks seems more of an interpretation ora sermon than a critical review, because it largely focuses on O’Connor’s literature and provides almost all of the supporting evidence from her arguments. In this regard, the author seems to be elaborating O’Connor’s standpoints to his students. In scholarly articles, authors basically present their original positions or arguments about a subject and provide a wide reaching support through experiment or research. Thus, although Hendricks makes remarkable observations about grace and prophets in O’Connor’s response it would have been better if he supported the arguments with relevant in increased views from other scholarly materials regardless of his audience.
In the article, Hendricks notes that in the view of O’Connor, the misfit was not a monster but a tragic figure suffering from his misunderstanding of the humanity and God relationship. In this regard, the failure of the misfit to conform to the society’s perception and expectations ruined him. In addition, Hendricks identifies that O’Connor regarded to the misfit as a ‘spoilt prophet’. Notably, the misfit’s ability to view and question things automatically qualified to become a prophet just like Ezekiel, who was immensely critical of the conventional ways of Israelite’s worship. In this regard, Hendricks argues that if the mainstream religion has lost the spiritual urgency, hence become secular and respectable, then the work of the modern prophet, with the view similar to that of the misfit, is to criticize it. Nevertheless, the O’Connor regarded them is fit as a spoilt prophet, because of his failure to recognize that the grace of God can come through the world order. The misfit kept on insisting on believing after seeing, especially on matters regarding Jesus who he accused throwing things out of balance.In this regard, the misfit fails to recognize his purpose and is subjected to immense suffering. Thus, it is highly essential to identify the Grace of God whether through the ordinary world setting or from any avenue.
The misfit’s failure to conform to the society’s expectation earns him a rejection by the people, but not the suffering.Hendricks notes that everybody, whether in consonance with the society’s expectation or not suffers, hence the misfit was correct by identifying in this life pleasure is hard to find. Thus, the misfit must have been mistaken to attribute his suffering to the rejection by the society. Notably, if the misfit understood that even the mean and those he perceived as wicked, he would have made an honest profession of faith; hence the society would have not closed the doors for him and the suffering could have been less intense. Nonetheless, the misfit insisted on the witnessing before believing, hence the author terms him regenerate or the lost. Therefore, it is clear that failure to recognize that objects of the world can deliver God’s grace leads to immense suffering for the misfit.
The author’s view about the grace of God must be true because the supremacy of the Almighty Father reigns over everything seen and unseen, hence can choose to do anything without being questioned by anyone. In addition, God works mysteriously and if he chooses to use the mean people of the world to deliver his Grace nobody has freedom the freedom to demand otherwise. In this regard, by insisting that God must deliver grace by himself for him to believe, the misfit is misguided because God works in a different and more powerful order from that of humanity. Furthermore, the approach of punishing those he perceives as wicked is highly misleading because if everybody assumed, such an approach, the misfit would have been the first one to be killed by the society. Notably The author satisfactorily justifies his argument using relevant examples from ‘A Good Man is hard to Find’ and O’Connor’s view points on the same. However, Hendricks never adequately utilized other sources to articulate matters in the article, hence most of his arguments seem more of opinions between a few people rather than the general views. Thus, although the author’s argument indicating that God can use the world’s objects to deliver grace are correct, more view points from other authors would have immensely improved the credibility of the document.