it becomes apparent that [her] spiritual grotesques are also on the path to salvation. Their violence is directed toward the physical world; they are destroying the body to save the soul. Not so with Miss O'Connor's secular grotesques. If a physical affliction is the presence of God for the physical grotesques and God is Himself a physical affliction for the spiritual grotesques, the secular grotesques on the other hand suffer from a spiritual affliction. Their violence is directed toward the spirit rather than the body.
The difficulty I always have with O'Connor is the violence. With the spiritual grotesques I can perhaps see it if, like Haze, it is self-inflicted; but with characters like Tarwater, where the violence is not self-inflicted (he is buggered by the Devil) then I fail to understand the Christian sensibility behind it. Similarly, with the secular grotesques I see no need for violence whatever, either to the soul or to the body. As an atheist, I would have to count as one of O'Connor's secular grotesques, yet I feel no threat of violence to either my soul or my body. For me, she is creating a false premise.