WHEN I SAW the December 1994/January 1995 issue with coverage of Flannery O'Connor, I thought, Oh good, maybe I'll learn what's so great about her. Willing to change my mind, I checked out [her books]. Still puzzled, I went back and re-read your feature articles on her. Alas. I still can't see it.
In Julie Polter's article ("Obliged to See God"), I look for myself in her assessment of some of O'Connor's readers: "local people who wished O'Connor would write 'nice' stories" or perhaps among those who "weren't offended by the roughness of her stories, but...ignorant of or hostile toward any spiritual potential." Me?
After all this effort to analyze both O'Connor and myself, I must pick up a section in Danny Duncan Collum's article ("Nature and Grace"). Collum says, "Raber's great sin is that he 'studies' people, when the point is to save them." For me, Collum is also describing O'Connor.
She is a wonderful student of people. Their vocabulary, their gestures, their interactions are seen and shown with intense clarity. But I can't see where her point is to save them. Every book, every story ends with death or despair or both. Is there never a glimpse of positive faith? Does the Spirit only come with judgment? Is there no compassion in Christ?
If O'Connor really writes about a religion of God's grace, I'm too dense to catch it. Well, you gave it a good try. And so did I. Pauline Meek
Clay Center, Kansas
FEAR OF STRANGERS
AARON GALLEGOS' recent commentary, "Room in the Inn?" in the December 1994/January 1995 issue was quite insightful and exposes the travesty of justice we are seeing here in California. Although I've been told this proposition will be tied up in court for the next several years, it already has had a disturbing effect of spreading fear among the poor. Many have refused medical help out of fear of being deported. People are literally dying because of this fear.