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22

M O N D A Y

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In a gloomy row of pines an old man is busy bludgeoning his granddaughter with a rock. Down the road, a neighbor has just been gored by a bull against the grill of her car. Meanwhile, a toddler is drowning himself in a nearby river. It’s just another afternoon in Flannery O’Connor country. The South’s most violence-obsessed author lived on a Georgia farm with her mother and her peacocks, but she sent her characters to Judgment Day with the grim efficiency of a hog farmer. Though guns get nary a mention in her fiction, O’Connor remains a prophet of modern America: Her greatest creation, Hazel Motes, the leader of his own Church Without Christ, is David Koresh before rock ‘n’ roll. Professor Patrick Parks discusses the influences of region and religion in O’Connor’s work in “Grace and Violence: The Life and Fiction of Flannery O’Connor” at 8 p.m. at the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden’s Ring Auditorium, 8th & Independence Ave. SW. $17. For reservations call (202) 357-3030. (Eddie Dean)