Mary Flannery O'Connor: The Violent Bear It Away

(1702 words)

Flannery O’Connor’s second novel was published in 1960, eight years after her first, Wise Blood, and shares its predecessor’s interest in reluctant Southern prophets, violence and the grotesque. The title is taken from the Douay translation of Matthew 11:12, which provides the book’s epigraph: “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away.” These are Jesus’ words to the multitude, and the themes of baptism, violence and the Bread of Life pervade the novel.

Like many of O’Connor’s stories, The Violent Bear It Away also focuses on antagonistic relationships between adults and children, with the …

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McGill, Robert. "The Violent Bear It Away". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 26 July 2002
[, accessed 29 November 2015.]