Bringing Light to Darkness: Violence in The Violent Bear It
奧康納的「暴取天國」已被公認為美國文學的經典，描述一個男孩對於接受或拒絕先知使命之掙扎。此小說出版於 1960年，表現奧康納身為美國南方小說家的特質，善於描繪畸零人的奇異視野。對於她作品的評論，皆著重在宗教主題及黑暗人物的層面。本研究欲探討此作品中暴力的深層意涵。與這位準先知相關的暴力帶來巨變，促成他心靈的成長及意識的蛻變。對Mason和Rayber而言，暴力是脅迫他人屈服己見的手段。對Tarwater而言，暴力成就自我的提昇，改變自私自利的想法進而與世界和諧相連。本研究內容主要探討暴力的兩種差異面貌。 第一部分分析暴力的摧毀性，由Mason和Rayber所展現。第二部分討論主角Tarwater經歷暴力事件後得到利益他人的意識。本研究顯示，暴力可以具正向之處在於將之導向內在的自我而非外在的他人。暴力的轉化力量照亮並扭轉奧康納的黯淡世界，釐清一般對暴力的誤解。
Recognized as a landmark in American literature, Flannery O'Connor's The Violent Bear It Away describes a boy's struggle of accepting or refusing his call as a prophet. Published in 1960, this novel exhibits O'Connor's unique style as a Southern writer interested in the grotesque characters and their peculiar vision. While most critics discuss her religious theme and dark characters, this paper explores the subtle implications of violence to shed a new light into her dark world. The violence correlated with the prospective prophet leads to his spiritual growth and mental transformation. For the other members of his family, violence is a strategy to shock people into submission. But for Tarwater, it is an overwhelming power to sublimate and transform his egotistic self into harmonious union with the world. This paper deals with these two contrasting aspects of violence. The first part illustrates the destructive force of violence as exerted by Mason and Rayber. The second part analyzes the altruistic consciousness Tarwater gains after he experiences violent incidents. This study reveals that violence can be positive only in the way that it is directed inward toward one's self rather than outward towards others. The transformative power of violence gives O'Connor's stark world a bright turn and clarifies the misconceptions about violence.