“Flannery O’Connor’s fiction also explores this distinctly Southern paradox through the symbol of the “old child”. Like Faulkner, she creates child characters who are disillusioned by the inactivity and lack of belief in their parent’s generation and subsequently construct their identity on the model of an elderly figure, only to suffer a tug of loyalties between the past and the present which embitters the child. The difference with O’Connor is that the discrepancy she seeks to capture is not between the Old South and the New South but between the Christian promise of Redemption and a modern nihilism and as a result her “old children” suffer both a spiritual and physical progeria. Her “old children” are more freakish and grotesque than Faulkner’s but they still emanate from the Southern question of how to incorporate past myths in articulating an identity in the present…”
– Conan O’Brien
If anyone knows the owner of this little masterpiece please can you let me know so I can credit them…
Conan O’Brien was smack at the top of my ‘People I Must Meet’ list long before I discovered an old thesis he wrote while at Harvard on literary progeria in the works of Flannery O’Connor and William Faulkner. Back when angelfire and geocities were knocking around proper, someone posted the piece in it’s entirety. It has since been removed.
A few hours ago I was sat watching Confessions of a Shopaholic – it may not be the worst movie ever, but it’s a pretty close approximation – and my brain felt so ashamed. Then I started thinking about PeaBoy and Conan O’Brien and how that’s comedy. And this somehow led to me requesting a copy of “The ‘Old Child’ in Faulkner and O’Connor” by Conan Christopher O’Brien from the Harvard Depository.
Let’s face it, seriously….could the man get any cooler?