sometimes a hat is just a hat


Week before last I went to Wesleyan and read ‘A Good Man Is Hard to Find.’ After, I went to one of the classes where I was asked questions. There were a couple of young teachers there and one of them, an earnest type, started asking the questions. ‘Miss O’Connor,” he said, ‘why was the Misfit’s hat black?’ I said most countrymen in Georgia wore black hats. He looked pretty disappointed. Then he said, ‘Miss O’Connor, the Misfit represents Christ, does he not?’ ‘He does not,’ I said. He looked crushed. ‘Well, Miss O’Connor,’ he said, ‘what is the significance of the Misfit’s hat?’ I said it was to cover his head; and after that he left me alone. Anyway, that’s what’s happening to the teaching of literature.

– Flannery O’Connor in a letter to Dr. T. R. Spivey, May 25, 1959.

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