Joyce Carol Oates on Chappaquiddick

By The Daily Dish

by Hanna Rosin

The author of Black Water, a novel based on the incident, weighs in at the Guardian.

Yet if one weighs the life of a single young woman against the accomplishments of the man President Obama has called the greatest Democratic senator in history, what is one to think?

The poet John Berryman once wondered: "Is wickedness soluble in art?". One might rephrase, in a vocabulary more suitable for our politicized era: "Is wickedness soluble in good deeds?"

This paradox lies at the heart of so much of public life: individuals of dubious character and cruel deeds may redeem themselves in selfless actions. Fidelity to a personal code of morality would seem to fade in significance as the public sphere, like an enormous sun, blinds us to all else.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/daily-dish/archive/2009/08/joyce-carol-oates-on-chappaquiddick/197129/