Anyone familiar with academic administration, departmental politics, or faculty committee dynamics knows that scholars tend to have an immunity to effectively accomplishing anything.
In Flannery O’Connor’s short story “The Comforts of Home,” Thomas, the main character, is such a person. He’s a historian faced with a serious domestic dilemma that requires shrewd relational navigation. It becomes increasingly clear that he isn’t up to it.
I had to laugh at the following lines in which O’Connor nails the academic type:
Thomas had inherited his father’s reason without his ruthlessness and his mother’s love of good without her tendency to pursue it. His plan for all practical action was to wait and see what developed.