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Humanities “Introduction to a Memoir of Mary Ann”

This Reading Response Journal is based on your readings from “BEING HUMAN” core readings in the humanities edited by Leon Kass Section III: LIVING WELL Chapter 8: Vulnerability and Suffering Flannery O’Connor: Introduction to a Memoir of Mary Ann Also read the story behind Andrew Wyeth’s famous painting, Christina’s World. (Links to an external site.) Christina’s World 1- Remember from The Birth-mark, where Aylmer, the husband, expresses his “shock” at the mark on his wife’s cheek, calling it “the visible mark of earthly imperfection.” Is it possible to love what shocks you? 2- How is human imperfection “the raw material of good” ? 3- O’Connor writes that a tenderness for human suffering, when lacking in insight about human suffering, leads logically to terror. This is because, lacking insight, it is “wrapped in theory.” What does she mean? In what theory or theories might it be wrapped? How might that theory — or “theory” in general — lead to terror? 4- Would the world be a better place if there were no deformed children? If we could prevent their being born? 5- What is your perception of Christina’s World? Is this painting sinister or soothing? Comfortable or uncomfortable? Or somewhere in between? What about the painting gives you that impression (consider colors, composition, brushstrokes, etc.)? In light of your analysis, do you think Andrew Wyeth was capitalizing on Christina’s infirmity or championing her resiliency?


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