When writing a piece of literature the content is often influenced from the background of the person who is writing. The author, whether consciously or subconsciously, adds in personal experiences or beliefs into their pieces. Flannery O’Connor is a good example of this trend. Her short stories illustrate the hardships, beliefs, and society at the time she lived and was writing. It is most blatantly demonstrated in her collection of short stories entitled, A Good Man Is Hard to Find, and Other Stories. Flannery O’Connor reflects her disease, in the mutilation of her characters, her religion, in the types of characters she chooses, and her being an outcast of society, in her characters’ traits, throughout the plots of her short stories.
Flannery O’Connor’s own genetic disease which led to her eventual death played a key role in developing the characters in her stories. O’Connor lost her father to systemic lupus erythematosus. This is a disease that leads to a malfunction within the body that causes the production of antibodies that attack the body’s own tissues; it is an autoimmune disease (“Flannery O'Connor Biography"). This killed her father when she was still a teenager. Nine years later O’Connor, herself, contracted the same disease which was deemed incurable at the time. The disease did not let her keep from writing. She was soon reduced to walking with only crutches because of the deformation of her hip bone. This is strikingly similar to her character in “Good Country People.” The character of Hulga also had leg disabilities. She uses her wooden leg to her advantage. For example, every morning she comes down the stairs banging her wooden leg just to be unpleasant. Her mother made excuses for her mean demeanor on accounts of her leg injury. O’Connor poses one of her characters to have a similar injury as her to show that it can be over come. Excuses were not made for O’Connor and she still wrote. Through illustrating the wrong point of babying Hulga, she was proving her point that obstacles in life can be overcome. O’Connor used her own personal hardships and reflected them subtly throughout the plots of her stories.
Her religious views are also present through the plots of her short story as most directly seen in “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” O’Connor grew up in the South and was raised in a very Catholic household. In the South she was clearly an outsider because of her faith. This was made evident in the essay she wrote entitled, “The Catholic Novelist in the Protestant South” (Liukkonen). The theme of religion was one that many of her short stories were centralized around. It was present in “Good Country People,” with Hulga and her idea of being morally superior to others, and in “The Displaced Person, with the role of the priest. However, the best example of the theme religion can be found in her work, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find.” This short story is centered on a family and their encounter with an escaped...