David Durian 
Very slowly, his expression changed a if he [Bevel] were gradually seeing appear what he didn't know he'd been looking for.
Flannery O'Connor, "The River"
"We are all damned," she [Hulga Hopewell] said, "but some of us have taken off our blindfolds and see that there's nothing to see. It's a kind of salvation."
Flannery O'Connor, "Good Country People"
Flannery O'Connor's near obsessive concern with the fallibility of human knowledge is widely recognized in the critical literature (e.g., Asals; Desmond; Dowell; McCarthy; Oates; Orvell; Reesman); Desmond, for example, comments that "a major theme in [O'Connor's] work" is "deceptive consciousness, the mind's capacity for distortion in apprehending the real and its proneness to closure when impinged upon by the divine" (36). In commenting on the importance of mystery in O'Connor's fiction, Orvell writes that "in essence, mystery is what is finally unknowable" (18). O'Connor herself wrote of one of her stories, "It's not so much a story of conversion as of self-knowledge, which I suppose has to be the first step in conversion" (Mystery 299). An essential part of self-knowledge for O'Connor is the recognition of the inherent limitations of human knowledge. These limitations transcend class boundaries. Although O'Connor seems to have been as "obsessed with the sham intellectual as she was by the prophet," Orvell (121, 152 ff.) demonstrates that even backwoods characters like Mr. Head in "The Artificial Nigger" are driven by their compulsion to demonstrate superior knowledge, in Mr. Head's case, knowledge of "the city." Despite the vast critical literature on O'Connor's fiction, there is barely a handful of intensely stylistic analyses of her work (e.g., Hardy "Narrating Knowledge"; Hardy "Dialogic Repetition"; Hardy "Free Indirect Discourse"; Kennelly; Kessler; Ludwig; Mayer; McMullen). Of these studies, only Kennelly and Hardy ("Narrating Knowledge") examine the stylistics of knowledge. Hardy ("Narrating Knowledge") examines clausal presupposition, which is the site of much contested knowledge in O'Connor's fiction. Kennelly analyzes exhortative discourse in Wise Blood. She argues that exhortative discourse "promotes an intense conviction and 'alien' view" through the use of emotion and a reliance "on a clear, easily understood literary style that uses the copula and concrete description" (153). Implication, or ent ailment, is another promising area of stylistic investigation of knowledge since a true proposition normally guarantees the truth of its implications. We show in this paper that fiction, specifically Flannery O'Connor's fiction, provides the data to refine linguistic theories regarding the boundary between semantics (e.g., implication) and pragmatics (e.g., presupposition).
In particular, we investigate the semantics and pragmatics of various phrasal and clausal complements to the verb see in O'Connor's fiction. The prevalence of sight imagery and verbs of sight in O'Connor's fiction has been commented on frequently (Freeman 26; Kennelly; Mellard 53; Orvell; Reesman; Sloan 136; Shaw). Kennelly argues that Haze's s "visual errors" and "reliance on vision" in Wise Blood are part of O'Connor's metaphorical dramatization of "vision's inherent deceitfulness" (163-65). Orvell comments on the importance of literal vision in the reception of grace in several of O'Connor's works and concludes, "O'Connor's first principle is thus rooted in the perception of the world and not in some disembodied cogito: rather, video ergo sum" (168). But no one has yet investigated in detail the quantitative or qualitative stylistics of any of O'Connor's verbs of sight and imagery and how those stylistics are reflective of O'Connor's concerns with knowledge. As the following passage from Mystery and Manne rs indicates, there is a close connection between belief and vision in O'Connor's poetics:
For the writer of fiction, everything has its testing point in the eye, and the eye is an organ that eventually involves the whole personality, and as much of the world as can be got into it. It involves judgment. Judgment is something that begins in the act of vision, and when it does not, or when it becomes separated from vision, then a confusion exists in the mind which transfers itself to the story. (91)
Even though O'Connor speaks in this passage of the writer's relation to vision and judgment, we will show that she might just as well have been speaking of her characters. As she says, the eye envelops the "whole personality" and "judgment." Seeing and not seeing, claiming to have seen and claiming not to have seen are all important revelatory and revealing acts in O'Connor's fiction. Thus, take the following scene from "The Artificial Nigger" in which Mr. Head denies his grandnephew Nelson the protection and comfort that is due to and desperately needed by him:
"Your boy has broken my ankle!" the old woman shouted. "Police!"
Mr. Head sensed the approach of the policeman from behind. He stared straight ahead at the women who were massed in their fury like a solid wall to block his escape, "This is not my boy," he said. "I never seen him before."
He felt Nelson's fingers fall out of his flesh.
Mr. Head began to feel the depth of his denial. His face as they walked became all hollows and bare ridges. He saw nothing they were passing [...]
(Good Man 123-24; italics ours)
In his fear, Mr. Head denies knowledge of Nelson by claiming he has never seen him. Then, in his guilt, he becomes symbolically blind, unable to see. By the end of the story, however, Mr. Head has suffered enough from the consequences of his denial of Nelson to accept God's grace:
He had never thought himself a great sinner before but he saw now that his true depravity had been hidden from him lest it cause him despair. He realized that he was forgiven for sins from the beginning of time, when he had conceived in his own heart the sin of Adam, until the present, when he had denied poor Nelson. He saw that no sin was too monstrous for him to claim as his own, and since God loved in proportion as He forgave, he felt ready at that instant to enter Paradise. (129; italics ours)
O'Connor is rarely so heavy-handed with statement of theme as she is at the end of "The Artificial Nigger," but the use of finite complements to the verb see for presenting true and false revelations is quite common in her work.
In 1958, at the Indiana University "Conference on Style," Roman Jakobson closed the conference with a statement that today, at least in America, sounds a bit naive. After blaming literary critics' lack of faith in "the competence of linguistics to embrace the field of poetics" on "the poetic incompetence of some bigoted linguists," Jakobson closes with, "All of us here, however, definitely realize that a linguist deaf to the poetic function of language and a literary scholar indifferent to linguistic problems and unconversant with linguistic methods are equally flagrant anachronisms" (377). There has been some communication between linguistics and literary studies in America during these forty-plus years, but the communication has been mainly one way, in the form of linguists or semioticians claiming the ground of literature in the name of stylistics. We maintain that our analysis of phrasal and clausal complements to the verb see in O'Connor's fiction demonstrates that stylistic analysis can be as much invo lved in helping to refine linguistic hypotheses as it is involved in helping to refine literary interpretation and theory. First, we examine some formal, semantic, and pragmatic similarities and differences between presuppositional finite complements and implicational nonfinite complements. Second, we show that O'Connor's fiction has a statistically-significant higher concentration of tokens of the verb see than a standard corpus of American literary texts. Finally, we show (1) that the foreground/background distinction is multi-leveled, (2) that the multi-leveled nature of the foreground/background distinction helps to explain the pragmatic nature of both non-finite complements and finite complements, and (3) that the semantic difference between finite complements and nonfinite complements--i.e., physical perception versus cognitive perception--is a scalar phenomenon, one that is gradable from the extreme of pure physical perception, through various shades of mixed physical and cognitive perception, to the e xtreme of pure cognitive perception. In section 2, we turn to a theoretical description of the pragmatic and semantic qualities of verbal complements, presupposition, and implication.
2. The Form and Semantics of Syntactic Integration of Verb Complements
First, we will explore some intuitional data to establish some formal distinctions in types of complements to the verb see. There are three types of nonfinite (nontensed) complements to the verb see. The asterisk in (1b), (2b), and (3b) indicates an ungrammatical sentence.
(1) a. John saw Mary leave.
b. *Mary leave.
(2) a. John saw Mary leaving.
b. *Mary leaving.
(3) a. John saw Mary stopped for a traffic violation.
b. *Mary [semantic PATIENT] stopped for a traffic violation.
The italicized complement in (1a) is known as the bare-stem complement since it has no added morphology such as tense or aspect. The complement in (2a) is the present participial. And the complement in (3a) is the past participial. One obvious sign of the syntactic integration (see Givon) of these verb complements with the matrix clause is that they may not stand grammatically by themselves, as …