Miss Lonelyhearts and the Lamb
This first chapter appeared, alone, as a story, in Contact in February 1932.
"He lived by himself in a room that was as full of shadows as an old steel engraving. The walls were bare except for an ivory Christ that hung opposite the foot of the bed...Instead of writhing, the Christ remained calmly decorative."
"For him, Christ was the most natural of excitements."
"Oh, Lord, we are of those who wash solely in the Blood of the Lamb."
"The paraded the lamb through the market. Miss Lonelyhearts went first, carrying the knife, the others followed, Steve with the jug and Jud with the animal."
"Their hands were covered with slimy blood and the lamb slipped free. It crawled off into the underbrush."
"After some time had passed, Miss Lonelyhearts begged them to go back and put the lamb out of its misery. They refused to go. He went back alone and found it under a bush. He crushed its head with a stone and left the carcass to the flies that swarmed about the bloody altar flowers."
Christ and suffering. Religion and art. The human condition raw and exposed. West is relentless here.