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Archive for March 18th, 2008

From “Greenleaf” by Flannery O’Connor 
Scene: Mrs. May speaks with Mr. Greenleaf about the new dairy barn his sons have built: 

The barn was down the lane from the house. She had not seen it before but Mr. Greenleaf had described it in detail for it had been built according to the latest specifications. It was a milking parlor arrangement where the cows are milked from below. The milk ran in pipes from the machines to the milk house and was never carried in no bucket, Mr. Greenleaf said, by no human hand. “When you gonter get you one?” he had asked.

“Mr. Greenleaf,” she had said, “I have to do for myself. I am not assisted hand and foot by the government. It would cost me $20,000 to install a milking parlor. I barely make ends meet as it is.”

“My boys done it,” Mr. Greenleaf had murmured, and then— “but all boys ain’t alike.”

“No indeed!” she had said. “I thank God for that!”

“I thank Gawd for ever-thang,” Mr. Greenleaf had drawled.

You might as well, she had thought in the fierce silence that followed; you’ve never done anything for yourself.

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