Flannery Month: Day 4

“The Crop” by Flannery O’Connor

Quote of Note: “Miss Willerton sat down at her typewriter and let out her breath. Now! What had she been thinking about? Oh. Bakers. Hmmm. Bakers. No, bakers wouldn’t do. Hardly colorful enough. No social tension connected with bakers. Miss Willerton sat staring through her typewriter.”

Summary: Miss Willerton sits down to write and struggles to decide what to write about. She settles on the topic of a sharecropper named Lot Motun. As she starts writing and thinking about this character, she builds up his life and then falls into a reverie, placing her within the story as Lot’s wife and continues to imagine the rest of their life together. When Miss Lucia interrupts her day dreaming and asks her to go to the store, her whole story is interrupted. When she returns from the store she is unsatisfied with her original topic and decides that the Irish are a more arty topic.

Thoughts:

  • This story is kind of mean. Clearly O’Connor is making fun of the socially conscious agrarian school of writing which served to point out the follies of industrial society while driving home the idea that the rural, agrarian way of life is more pure. Clearly, though, Miss Willerton knows very little about the rural life and is seeking to write about any socially aware topic. She has such prescribed ideas about what writing should be and what are appropriate topics — her writing process is a farce. I’m not sure if Flannery was writing this in a self-conscious way; it’s hard to imagine her now as some sort of self-righteous artful and socially conscious topic seeker. Or maybe she had a specific group of people in mind that she was clearly caricaturing.
  • Side Note: I had no idea what it meant to crumb a table so I looked it up and apparently its a device, a little scraper, that you use to sweep the crumbs off a table with. Apparently, using your hand and the dish towel is gauche. I wonder if Flannery meant it to give Miss Willerton and her fellow housemates the implication of snobbiness and over the top-ness that I get from it today.
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