Mary Flannery O'Connor was born in Savannah, Georgia, on March 25, 1925. Until she graduated in 1945 she was known as Mary Flannery. At this point she felt that Mary Flannery didnt seem suitable, on one occasion she described it as sounding like the name of an Irish washerwoman. From this point on, she was known as just Flannery OConnor. Flannery is most recognized for her short stories but at the same time had great interest in cartooning and drawing. She would paint over any cracks in the walls of her home so that her mother would not cover them up with paintings from relatives. As a student at Georgia State College for women Flannery displayed her interests in art by painting murals on the walls of the student union building. Flannery often accredited her father, Edward OConnor as being one of the first and most important influences in her life. Edward OConnor not only encouraged his daughter to write but to explore her artistic ability as well.
Flannery OConnors first claim to fame came from being filmed by a New York photographer from the Pathe News. At the age of 5 years old she was interviewed for training her pet chicken to walk backwards on command. Along with training the chickens she enjoyed making clothes and parading them around. She continued her interest in birds throughout her life but the peacock was her favorite. Often when she mailed a letter, she would draw a peacock on the letter and soon it became her trademark. (The Life of Flannery, 1997)
In 1942 Flannery became a student at Georgia State College for Women. There she became the art editor of the college newspaper and editor of the Campus Literary Quarterly. In the fall of 1945 she continued her studies at the Iowa School for Writers. Following her 1947 graduation Flannery moved to Connecticut with her close friends, Robert sand Sally Fitzgerald. While living at this residence Flannery became sick with a incurable disease known as Lupus. After coming to terms with her illness OConnor returned home to Geogia where she concentrated most of her efforts on writing and less on cartooning. Wise Blood, her first novel, was finished in 1952, this was an extraordinary achievement for her. Considering her belief that she would pass away in the preceding 3 years, OConnor devoted most of her time to writing her short stories. After surprisingly living to see the end of the third year Flannery had completed nine short stories.
Most of what is known about Flannery after she moved back to Georgia is relayed through her correspondence with friends and people who admired her work. One person in particular who became very close with Flannery was a fan who had developed a friendship and companionship over an eight year period through the exchange of 250 letters. In 1979, Flannerys close friend Sally Fitzgerald published The Habit of Being. She used the letters that had been shared between the two friends to help document Flannerys life. The anonymous friend...