Trees Bathed in Blood

A View of the Woods  by Flannery O’Connor  (1957)

 Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    March 29, 2016

 

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We don’t normally think of Flannery O’Connor when we want to read a mystery. A View of the Woods is an ‘uncomfortable mystery’ and one that goes deep. Would we expect anything less from the queen of southern literature, Flannery O’Connor? This short tale is Christian-haunted, a human brutality with a demonic force. Characterization here is compelling and won’t let you close the book.

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Mary Fortune is nine years old. A cute spunky little girl and her grandfather’s favorite—because Mary is just like the grandfather. But this old guy, Mr. Fortune, is driven by so much pride and obsessed with progress, the result becomes bloody and tragic. There’s no supernatural elements going on unless you recognize a visionary moment by the grandfather. But there is a whole lot of symbolism going on. The woods are often places of fear and vulnerability. In this story, we see how a person can closed his eyes to the ‘hellish red trunks that rise up in a blackwood.’ Viewing the woods is not all the grandfather finally sees.

 

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The third time he [Mr. Fortune] got up to look at the woods, it was almost six o’clock and the gaunt trunks appeared to be raised in a pool of red light that gushed from the almost hidden sun setting behind them. The old man stared for some time, as if for a prolonged instant he were caught up out of the rattle of everything that led to the future and were held there in the midst of an uncomfortable mystery that he had not apprehended before. He saw it, in his hallucination, as if someone were wounded behind the woods and the trees were bathed in blood.

Watch for the color yellow symbolism here. O’Connor does this brilliantly.

Read the short story from Flannery O’Connor, The Complete Stories via PDF (scroll down to page 343).

 

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Flannery O’Connor, born in Savannah, Georgia in 1925, won a National Book Award for Fiction in 1972. She wrote over 30 short stories and 2 novels.

 

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Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of over 170 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery,  supernatural, horror, and ghost stories. Join me in reading one short story every week! Comments are welcome.

 

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5 Comments

Filed under fiction, literary horror, literature, mysteries, psychological horror, quiet horror, short stories, short story blogs, tales of terror

5 responses to “Trees Bathed in Blood

  1. Pingback: Trees Bathed in Blood | Slattery's Art of Horror Magazine

  2. Clare

    I have just recently started to follow your web site. I am so excited to see you feature Flannery O’Conner! Living now in New England I realized years ago that they don’t teach Southern Writers!!! My local library had none – I was trying to introduce the daughter of a friend to stretch her reading.Thank you – she is one of my favorite authors. I have this book buried in one of my boxes in the basement. I sense a search in my near future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Clare, and thank you for your remarks here. You local library had none?! Wow. I love to read authors out of my own region (New England) and Southern writers are high on my list. The stories in “The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor” are full of wonderful short fiction. O’Connor really is a master at the art of the short story. As a writer, I like to read and study the best.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. latasha

    this sounds so incredibly awesome! how have I never heard of this before?!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good to hear from you Latasha. Flannery O’Connor is well known for her stories about Christian realism. The violence in her stories is often a means of redemption. Readers who follow my blog here like mystery, suspense, and supernatural fiction writers. I chose this story because it’s masterly written and has a great deal of suspense with characters that are compelling. I’m always searching for literary authors who will fit into these genres. Thank you for your comment!

      Like

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