Flannery O’Connor on Violence in Fiction

With the serious writer, violence is never an end in itself. It is the extreme situation that best reveals what we are essentially. … I have found that violence is strangely capable of returning my characters to reality and preparing them to accept their moment of grace. Their heads are so hard that almost nothing else will do the work. This idea, that reality is something to which we must be returned at considerable cost, is one which is seldom understood by the casual reader, but it is one which is implicit in the Christian view of the world.

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