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Dark Like Blood

"A Late Encounter with the Enemy"

"The past and the future were the same thing to him, one forgotten
and the other not remembered" (257).
Flannery O'Connor's "A Late Encounter with the Enemy" (1953; 1955)

 

Points of Reflection

Flannery O'Connor's "A Late Encounter with the Enemy" (1953; 1955), 252-62

1. at what point does free indirect discourse enter into this story's first paragraph; when, that is, can you tell that the character's own diction and opinions have infiltrated and coopted the narrator's voice?

2. what attitude has Sally Poker adopted towards her graduation and degree?

3. if you were to psychoanalyze Sally by interpreting her nightmare (253), what would you conclude?

4. General Sash thinks himself quite handsome; do you concur, given his description?

5. would it be inappropriate to call General Sash a lecherous old man?

6. does the story provide enough details to make any assumptions about the Civil War film at which Mr. Sash received his general's uniform?

7. are we to understand that Mr. Sash's refusal to consider his mortality and his disinterest in the past (257) are a function of his advanced age?

8. what thematic concerns has Flannery O'Connor layered into Mr. Sash's cursing (258)?

9. what does the metaphorical hole which opens up in the old man's head actually represent?

10. the notion of forgetting one's past seems pretty self-explanatory; what does it mean to fail to remember one's future (257, 260)?

11. what apparently creates the black hole in Sash's brain (260), and what does iti allow into his head (260, 261)?

12. do the glimpses of General Sash's past provided to the reader reveal anything important about his character (261)?



"The Phantom Wagon" (1933)
oil on wood

Salvador Dalí



Dr. Paul Marchbanks
pmarchba@calpoly.edu