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Answer this Question
What do you make of the boy’s determination “not to fool with preachers any more but to Baptize himself”? Do you feel that Bevel (the Pastor) was being sincere in his baptisms, or do you feel that Harry picked up on something deeper and darker about this particular man?
1. respond to this
Mr. Paradise is an interesting character in this story. His name can be considered to be one of a mocker such as those who mocked Jesus on the cross. On the other hand, his name is reminiscent of the thief next to Jesus on the cross. He trusted Jesus in the very last few minutes of his life. It was not too late for him to be saved. Jesus answered to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). The boy (Harry/Bevel) saw the man as a pig when they were both in the river. Perhaps Mr. Paradise represents the Biblical demonic spirits who were cast into the pigs and they drowned in the river (Matthew 8:28-34). The reader has to wonder where Mr. Paradise went after death. Only Jesus knows. That preacher told the crowd they could only choose one, Jesus or the devil. There is no way to know which one Mr. Paradise chose before dying.
2. Respond to this answer
Mrs Connin is described by O’Connor as looking like a skeleton on two occasions. On one occurrence while she looms in the doorway waiting for Harry to be ready to leave in the morning, she is described as “a speckled skeleton;” as she naps in the taxi on the way to her house at the beginning of the story, “she began to whistle and blow like a musical skeleton;” and when she realizes that Harry’s parents have no faith at all as she drops him back off at home. In another quote, “Mrs. Connin stood for a second, peering into the room as if she were a skeleton who could see everything” leads us to believe that O’Connor is drawing attention to the fact that Mrs. Connin is figuratively naked, open to grace, and implying that she is closer to God. It’s also likely that O’Connor is implying that Mrs. Connin is willing to allow God into her life.