Flannery O’Connor, towards the end of her life, wrote the following:

The novelist with Christian concerns will find in modern life distortions which are repugnant to him, and his problem will be to make them appear as distortions to an audience which is used to seeing them as natural; and he may be forced to take ever more violent means to get his vision across to this hostile audience. When you can assume that your audience holds the same beliefs you do, you can relax a little and use more normal ways of talking to it; when you have to assume that it does not, then you have to make your vision apparent by shock ~ to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the blind you draw large and startling figures [from The Fiction Writer and His Country, 1957; emphasis mine].

I suppose shouting might help with the hard of hearing… but drawing bigger pictures for the blind?


3 Responses to Bigger? Not always better…

  1. f&w says:

    Maybe she meant cross-eyed? Peeps with astigmatism?

  2. f&w says:

    Maybe she meant cross-eyed? Peeps with astigmatism?

  3. Now “blind” need not mean simply unable to see it can also mean unable to discern.
    The quoted text doesn’t mention “bigger”. It makes reference to “large and startling figures”.
    The hard of hearing may not hear the shouting but they might see the shouter.
    The blind might not see the large and startling figures but they might be startled by the attempts to produce such figures.
    The most interesting turn in the selected quotation is the equation of a hostile audience with an audience that perceives differently. A tender spot?

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