Book Discussion - The Violent Bear it Away

by Erin Smith
(St. Augustine, FL)

Upon my first reading of "The Violent Bear it Away" by Flannery O'Connor, I was confused and unsure if I liked the book or not.


Many of the important aspects were lost on me and I was unaware of many of the significant symbols and metaphors in the novel.

However, this changed during my Seminar class discussion about the book. While almost everyone in the class was just as confused as I was, through discussion we came to a much greater understanding of the novel.

The central triangular struggle in the novel is between old man Tarwater, young Tarwater, and Rayber.

Old man Tarwater and Rayber represent opposite ends of the religious spectrum and each try to brainwash young Tarwater into their own beliefs. However, young Tarwater has his own ideas on that subject.

"The Violent Bear it Away" is an excellent book club novel because during discussion, everyone will have different experiences and different thoughts to bring to the discussion and eventually everyone will come away with a new understanding of the work.

Note from Megan, Editor of the Book Club Guide

Great selection Erin. This is a perfect example about how book discussion can change your ideas about a book and allow you to understand what you've read in new ways.

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