Bodies in the Basements of our Minds

Fiction writers believe in total depravity.

Evil is banal. And the point is emphasized through the use of the obscene: when the violence occurs offstage, the reader creates it and becomes a perpetrator. Goethe famously said, ‘There is no crime of which I do not deem myself capable,’ and O’Connor and Oates imply the same is true of us. You are a molester, I am a murderer. We have, each and every one of us, bodies in the basements of our minds.

-Benjamin Percy, Thrill Me: Essays in Fiction, p. 54

 

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