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Flannery O'connor Essay

1304 words - 5 pages

In the mid 1900’s, America experienced many changes, from society and politics to religion and literature. Countries were facing the aftermath of World War II, and authors of the time reflected on how the world was dealing with the changes. Flannery O’Connor, a prominent Catholic writer from the South, was one of the many who examined society and shared their philosophies. O’Connor shocked her twentieth century readers with the haunting style and piercing questions in her short stories and novels, which were centered on a combination of her life experiences, her deep Catholic faith, and the literature of the time.
Mary Flannery O’Connor was born in Savannah, Georgia in 1925 into one of the oldest and most prominent Catholic families in Georgia. She was the only child of Edward, a real estate appraiser, and Regina O’Connor. The year after the family moved to Milledgeville in 1940, Flannery’s father contracted and died of lupus. She and her father had always had a close relationship, and 15-year-old Flannery was devastated (Gordon). Catholicism was always a huge aspect of life for the O’Connor family, living across the street from a cathedral and growing up in the Bible Belt (Liukkonen). Flannery attended parochial schools until entering the Georgia State College for Women, where she entered into an accelerated three-year program as a day student (Gordon). She graduated with a Social Sciences degree in 1945 and left Milledgeville for the State University of Iowa where she had been accepted in Paul Engle’s prestigious Writers Workshop. (“Flannery O’Connor”). Flannery devoted herself to what she loved most, writing, though she spent a great deal of her youth drawing pictures for a career as a cartoonist (Liukkonen). It was at this workshop where O’Connor met several important writers and critics who helped her publish her first stories and essays. These short stories and essays were published in a collection, The Geranium. O’Connor left Iowa for an artist’s retreat in New York, and soon left New York to stay in Connecticut with a well-known translator named Robert Fitzgerald and his wife Sally. The Fitzgerald’s were also devout Catholics, and O’Connor found that she could easily continue her spiritual and intellectual ways with them. It was in Ridgefield that she finished and published her first novel, Wise Blood (Gordon). In 1951, Flannery O’Connor was diagnosed with the same lupus that had killed her father. She continued, despite the disease, to write and travel. She returned to Milledgeville, and lived with her mother at the family farm, Andalusia (“Flannery O’Connor,” Andalusia). After thirteen years at the farm and only 39 years old, O’Connor died. Throughout her life, Flannery O’Connor remained a devout Catholic, allowing her beliefs and experiences to come through in her writing.
Flannery O’Connor’s Catholic upbringing affected all of her short stories and novels, weaving her beliefs into the themes and plots. She developed her stories...

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