Monday, November 15, 2010

Quote from Flannery O'Connor

In the article referenced below from Charles May's 'Reading the Short Story' site there's a great quote from Flannery O'Connor, (1925-1964).

About a writer of fiction with depth... "what he sees on the surface will be of interest to him only as he can go through it into an experience of mystery itself.. The meaning of a story does not begin except at a depth where adequate motivation and adequate psychology ... have been exhausted. Such a writer will be interested in what we don't understand rather than in what we do."

Ernest Hemingway talked of the 'iceberg' theory, speaking of the relationship between text and subtext. Where the portion of a story 'visible' above the waterline was dwarfed by the portion that lay beneath the water. In terms of depth (of possible meaning to the reader, via the story) and character I think that the waterline can also function as the dividing line  between the 'adequate' (in O'Connor's terms) and the mystery.

Reminds me not to stop at the adequate, either as a reader or a writer.

No comments:

Post a Comment