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Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006

Re: The Turkey

[ Edited ]

 Peppermill, 

 

“The Turkey” is one of O’Connor’s stories where I see her sense of humor;  as well as her sense of irony.... of how difficult life can be for people who want to believe.


She wrote in a letter that some people believe that having faith is like a warm blanket. That's its easy to believe in God. The irony is that she believed that having faith is much more difficult.... it’s much easier NOT to believe.


We follow little Ruller as he plans, again and again, to capture the turkey. We watch his plans disintegrate as the turkey escapes him. The story moves to a theological level when he starts blaming God for his bad luck:  “It was like somebody had played a dirty trick on him.”


His cursing becomes bolder as runs into trees, scratches his arms, tears his shirt… it’s all been for nothing. “Oh hell” becomes “God!” … escalates to “God dammit”, … and eventually “God dammit to hell, good Lord from Jerusalem”…  it becomes even sillier with “Good Father, good God, sweep the chickens out the yard.”


In his manic chase, his perceived relationship with God undergoes changes… “Maybe God wanted him to be a preacher.” He and God talk with each other…God becomes his friend.  Ruller develops a perfect understanding of God, and if “God wanted him to do something, he’d turn something up.”


When Ruller catches the turkey, God provides opportunities for the townspeople to praise him for his successful turkey-hunt… God answers his prayer for a beggar to appear so he can give her a dime.  This token gesture, all the money he has, is Ruller’s way of thanking God for the turkey. 


Shockingly, the turkey is stolen from him. Stunned, he watches the turkey disappear…


O’Connor may be suggesting that God is full of awe, and not easily understood…  “My ways are not your ways, and your ways are not My ways”… His ways are unknowable. He isn’t anybody’s hunting buddy. He’s a huge mystery that can’t be figured out by a little boy in an afternoon turkey hunt.


What I think is the best part, ironically, at the end of the story, the turkey turns out to be Ruller .

 


Peppermill wrote:

Unless someone else shows me something I should not have missed, "The Turkey" is a story I shall probably shuffle into the basket of "one of those O'Connor wrote."


 

 

 

 

IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
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Re: The Turkey

[ Edited ]

Ibis -- THANKS!

 

And now "The Train" and "The Peeler"?  I'm afraid my mind just is not attuned to warm to O'Connor,  She seems so harsh to my reading of her.  I have a hard time identifying the redemption.


IBIS wrote:

 Peppermill, 

 

“The Turkey” is one of O’Connor’s stories where I see her sense of humor;  as well as her sense of irony.... of how difficult life can be for people who want to believe.


She wrote in a letter that some people believe that having faith is like a warm blanket. That's its easy to believe in God. The irony is that she believed that having faith is much more difficult.... it’s much easier NOT to believe.


We follow little Ruller as he plans, again and again, to capture the turkey. We watch his plans disintegrate as the turkey escapes him. The story moves to a theological level when he starts blaming God for his bad luck:  “It was like somebody had played a dirty trick on him.”


His cursing becomes bolder as runs into trees, scratches his arms, tears his shirt… it’s all been for nothing. “Oh hell” becomes “God!” … escalates to “God dammit”, … and eventually “God dammit to hell, good Lord from Jerusalem”…  it becomes even sillier with “Good Father, good God, sweep the chickens out the yard.”


In his manic chase, his perceived relationship with God undergoes changes… “Maybe God wanted him to be a preacher.” He and God talk with each other…God becomes his friend.  Ruller develops a perfect understanding of God, and if “God wanted him to do something, he’d turn something up.”


When Ruller catches the turkey, God provides opportunities for the townspeople to praise him for his successful turkey-hunt… God answers his prayer for a beggar to appear so he can give her a dime.  This token gesture, all the money he has, is Ruller’s way of thanking God for the turkey. 


Shockingly, the turkey is stolen from him. Stunned, he watches the turkey disappear…


O’Connor may be suggesting that God is full of awe, and not easily understood…  “My ways are not your ways, and your ways are not My ways”… His ways are unknowable. He isn’t anybody’s hunting buddy. He’s a huge mystery that can’t be figured out by a little boy in an afternoon turkey hunt.


What I think is the best part, ironically, at the end of the story, the turkey turns out to be Ruller .

 


Peppermill wrote:

Unless someone else shows me something I should not have missed, "The Turkey" is a story I shall probably shuffle into the basket of "one of those O'Connor wrote."



 

 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Melissa_W
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Re: The Turkey

Her writing is very blunt to me.  It's not spare like Hemingway's but she doesn't make an attempt to "pretty it up" it seems.
Peppermill wrote:

Ibis -- THANKS!

 

And now "The Train" and "The Peeler"?  I'm afraid my mind just is not attuned to warm to O'Connor,  She seems so harsh to my reading of her.  I have a hard time identifying the redemption.


 

 


 

Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
balletbookworm.blogspot.com
Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006

Re: The Train, The Peeler and others in "Wise Blood"

[ Edited ]

Peppermill,

When I first started reading O’Connor, I came away with your exact initial impressions… that her view of the modern world is very bleak, and her imagery and writing has been seen as harsh and blunt.  I’m not sure I even understood her idea of violent grace. 

 

However, her amazingly good writing drew me in.


As for ‘The Train” and “The Peeler”…we meet Hazel in various incarnations. O’Connor used 4 of her short stories  (The Train, The Heart of the Park, The Peeler and Enoch and the Gorilla) to build her novel-length “Wise Blood.” (There’s a John Huston movie version which I posted in the Screen thread.)

 

In the 4 short stories, the character Hazel goes by different last names: Hazel Wickers, Hazel Moats, and finally Hazel Motes. I like how she plays with her characters’ names. For example, Hazel gets shortened to Haze…   a glazed, impaired way of seeing.

 

And finally as Hazel Motes in “Wise Blood”...  he becomes an itinerant preacher who quotes St. Matthew’s Gospel, And why seest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but sees not the beam that is in thy own eye.”


He eventually turns his own eyes inward, and self-blinds himself to get rid of the beam that he finds there. 

 


Peppermill wrote:

Ibis -- THANKS!

 

And now "The Train" and "The Peeler"?  I'm afraid my mind just is not attuned to warm to O'Connor,  She seems so harsh to my reading of her.  I have a hard time identifying the redemption.



 


 

IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
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Re: The Train, The Peeler and others in "Wise Blood"

However, her amazingly good writing drew me in.

 

Thank you once again, Ibis.

 

The above is what is keeping me going -- perhaps already longer at one time than I ever have done before.  (There may have been one exception to that, when our face-to-face book club read from her stories.)

 

 


IBIS wrote:

Peppermill,

When I first started reading O’Connor, I came away with your exact initial impressions… that her view of the modern world is very bleak, and her imagery can be grotesque and violent. She has a severe interpretation of redemption. I’m not sure I even understand her idea of violent grace.

 

However, her amazingly good writing drew me in.


As for ‘The Train” and “The Peeler”…we meet Hazel in various incarnations. O’Connor used 4 of her short stories  (The Train, The Heart of the Park, The Peeler and Enoch and the Gorilla) to build her novel-length “Wise Blood.” (There’s a John Huston movie version which I posted in the Screen thread.)

 

In the 4 short stories, the character Hazel goes by different last names: Hazel Wickers, Hazel Moats, and finally Hazel Motes. I like how she plays with her characters’ names. For example, Hazel gets shortened to Haze…   a glazed, impaired way of seeing.

 

And finally as Hazel Motes in “Wise Blood”, he’s an itinerant preacher who quotes St. Matthew’s Gospel:  “ And why seest thou the mote that is thy brother’s eye, but sees not the beam that is thy own eye.”


He eventually turns his own eyes inward, and self-blinds himself to get rid of the beam that he finds there. 


Peppermill wrote:

Ibis -- THANKS!

 

And now "The Train" and "The Peeler"?  I'm afraid my mind just is not attuned to warm to O'Connor,  She seems so harsh to my reading of her.  I have a hard time identifying the redemption.



 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: Sidebar on A Room of One's Own / Viriginia Woolf

Just listened to this.  Given the choice, the time is probably as well spent reading her, but I was able to have lunch and do some straightening about as this played.

 

It was posted by Kathy S as a comment to one of Ilana Simon's blogs.  There is more discussion of Virginia Woolf there.  It is a BBC interview with several current writers on the 80th anniversary of its printing.

 

A Room Of One's Own

 

 

The 80th anniversary of Virginia Woolf’s celebrated feminist essay

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction". 80 years ago this month Virginia Woolf published these words in an essay that was to become one of the seminal feminist texts of our age.  A Room of One’s Own has shaped the way in which creative achievement by men and women is viewed, and provided a point of reference for generations of female writers. Woolf uses the ‘room’ as a symbol for privacy, leisure time, and financial independence, all of which have been historically lacking for women. To mark the anniversary, a special programme looks at this remarkable essay and its continuing relevance to women today who are struggling to find the mental and physical space for their creativity. Jenni talks to Hermione Lee, author of an acclaimed biography of Virginia Woolf; the academic and author Susan Sellers; and the novelists Val McDermid and Jill Dawson. We also visit a room that Virginia Woolf called her own - a specially constructed writing lodge at the bottom of her garden at Monk’s House in Sussex.


Peppermill wrote:

Laura -- oh, at least take a crack at at your local library's copy of  A Room of One's Own!

 

There have been some good responses/rebuttals to it, but it lays out some basic arguments as well as I have seen them articulated anywhere, at least for their time.


Fozzie wrote:

Peppermill wrote:

Laura -- Thank you for making the comparison with The Postmistress!  That, too, did have sharp transitions.

 

Still, I have never seen ones like an author disappearing into her story and then being snapped back into the world beyond her typewriter and next finding her characters personified on the street.  (Flannery does sort of sets up the possibilities, with Miss Willie remaining behind to brush the crumbs from the table and being slightly irritated at having her reveries interrupted before escaping to her own space -- hints here of our friend Virginia Woolf.)

 

I also was one of those who generally liked the flow of The Postmistress and did not find the transitions troubling, although I did appreciate the typography and layout giving heads up cues.


I have not read anything by Virginia Woolf.  I have been avoiding her, thinking I won't like her...I think her work has been nominated on this board.



 

 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Contributor
Marcie95
Posts: 22
Registered: ‎12-06-2008
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Re: The Turkey


Peppermill wrote:

Ibis -- THANKS!

 

And now "The Train" and "The Peeler"?  I'm afraid my mind just is not attuned to warm to O'Connor,  She seems so harsh to my reading of her.  I have a hard time identifying the redemption.


IBIS wrote:

 Peppermill, 

 

“The Turkey” is one of O’Connor’s stories where I see her sense of humor;  as well as her sense of irony.... of how difficult life can be for people who want to believe.


She wrote in a letter that some people believe that having faith is like a warm blanket. That's its easy to believe in God. The irony is that she believed that having faith is much more difficult.... it’s much easier NOT to believe.


We follow little Ruller as he plans, again and again, to capture the turkey. We watch his plans disintegrate as the turkey escapes him. The story moves to a theological level when he starts blaming God for his bad luck:  “It was like somebody had played a dirty trick on him.”


His cursing becomes bolder as runs into trees, scratches his arms, tears his shirt… it’s all been for nothing. “Oh hell” becomes “God!” … escalates to “God dammit”, … and eventually “God dammit to hell, good Lord from Jerusalem”…  it becomes even sillier with “Good Father, good God, sweep the chickens out the yard.”


In his manic chase, his perceived relationship with God undergoes changes… “Maybe God wanted him to be a preacher.” He and God talk with each other…God becomes his friend.  Ruller develops a perfect understanding of God, and if “God wanted him to do something, he’d turn something up.”


When Ruller catches the turkey, God provides opportunities for the townspeople to praise him for his successful turkey-hunt… God answers his prayer for a beggar to appear so he can give her a dime.  This token gesture, all the money he has, is Ruller’s way of thanking God for the turkey. 


Shockingly, the turkey is stolen from him. Stunned, he watches the turkey disappear…


O’Connor may be suggesting that God is full of awe, and not easily understood…  “My ways are not your ways, and your ways are not My ways”… His ways are unknowable. He isn’t anybody’s hunting buddy. He’s a huge mystery that can’t be figured out by a little boy in an afternoon turkey hunt.


What I think is the best part, ironically, at the end of the story, the turkey turns out to be Ruller .

 


This boy Ruller sure  has a very active imagination!

Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006
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Re: The Turkey

 


Marcie95 wrote:

This boy Ruller sure  has a very active imagination!


 

 

Marcie, you're absolutely right! I liked Ruller a lot, and felt sorry for him when they stole the turkey from him.

 

IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
Wordsmith
Fozzie
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Re: The Turkey

In the beginning of "The Turkey," I thought I was going to be bored with another story about hunting.  Well, it was boring, at first, but then the story became about something much bigger than the turkey, and that's when it got interesting to me. 

 

We again see O'Connor's themes of aloneness and religion.  Ruller travels very far in his feelings toward God during the story, from hating Him to wanting to serve Him.

 

IBIS said, "What I think is the best part, ironically, at the end of the story, the turkey turns out to be Ruller ."

 

LOL!  Good one!  I can't understand why Ruller just let the boy walk off with the turkey!  That made me mad.  And then I couldn't help but think what trouble he will be in when he gets home, dirty, bloody, with torn and filthy clothes, having given his dime away, and with no tangible evidence of the turkey!

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Marcie95
Posts: 22
Registered: ‎12-06-2008
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Re: The Turkey

[ Edited ]

Maybe at the end of the day Ruller did not really care about the turkey anymore, just like how quickly he dismissed Mason the cattle rustler (at the very beginning of the story).  Anyway, it was getting dark and he had to be getting home; and besides, he seemed all set on embarking on a novel escapade - that of Something Awful!  We can only surmise as to what other fabulous things he will find there!

Wordsmith
Fozzie
Posts: 2,404
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: The Train

I'm not sure I got the point of this story.  A young man, Hazel, is on a train ride, feeling uncomfortable, comparing the black porter to a man he once knew.  We find out his mother has died, yet he seems to be having conflicting thoughts about her, at one point thinking that she talked to everyone on a train ride and at another point thinking that she didn't talk much on the train, but listened. 

 

I don't know what to think about this story other than we again see the theme of aloneness and observe a young man grieving for his mother.

 

IBIS, I will be interested to see how Hazel is in the other stories, based on your previous post.

 

I am wondering if we will notice a difference in the stories going forward because the rest had been published, if I am remembering correctly.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.