Book Club: "The Temple of The Holy Ghost" discussion questions

February 1, 2012


 Attention Book Clubbers: do check out the discussion questions for Flannery O’Connor’s “The Temple of the Holy Ghost.” In addition, we’ve got a list of the next handful of selections in case you want to get a head start. Let’s hit those books!

Perhaps you’re a couple of pages in, or perhaps you devoured it in record time, either way, “The Temple of The Holy Ghost” has gotten you thinking and we’re with you! Word on Fire Book Club moderator Ellyn von Huben has penned a handful of questions to get our discussion going. Let us commence…

1) To revisit a thought from my introduction, just who are the freaks here anyway?  Has our media saturation increased or diminished our ability to recognize the freakish?

2) ‘The child’ is honest in her assessment of her potential for sainthood.  Do you ever wonder exactly what kind of saint you could be?  Do we think we could be martyrs – only if someone would kill us quick?

3) Have you considered the ways that O’Connor shows the gifts of the Holy Spirit at work in the life of ‘the child’?  (ie., Fear of the Lord, Piety, Knowledge, Fortitude, Counsel, Understanding and Wisdom)  Do you see a growth in these areas over the short course of the story?

4) Do you think some of the power of the story comes from the milieu (prim, middle-class, 1950’s) in which Flannery O’Connor was working?  Has society become so coarsened that future readers would consider this just a quaint novelty?  Could this story be written today?

After reflecting upon these questions, please be aware that discussion will take place on the Word on Fire Forum.

In addition, here is the listing of the book selections for the upcoming five months:

February: Flannery O’Connor’s “The Temple of the Holy Ghost”
The Complete Stories

March: Walker Percy’s Love in the Ruins

April: Ron Hansen’s Exiles

May: Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited

June: Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair


Thank you for joining us! Happy reading!