There was something haunting about The Violent Bears It Away. Whether it be the characters or their fractured experiences, things always feel incomplete, both sad and unresolved.
What exactly does it mean to say that human beings are made “in the image and likeness of God”? Three answers have dominated Western theological ethics—imago Dei as reason, as will, and as love—and Flannery O’Connor’s second novel explores each of these from the inside, as it were, through its portrayal of the distinctive lifeworlds inhabited by three of the novel’s major characters: George Rayber, Francis Marion Tarwater, and the boy Bishop.
Source: Only Love Overcomes Violence: “The Violent Bear It Away” as Case Studies in Theological Ethics by Scott Huelin
In some respect, I was reminded of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Yes, both novels end in some sort of resolution, but it never quite satisfies all that is wrong in the world.
I feel that this is probably one of those books that I could come back to as something of a meditation. I did try diving into some of the commentary, but realised there was a whole different layer that would be a study in itself. It does make me want to read more from Thomas Aquinas.