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Transcript of Flannery O'Connor
A Prominent Voice of American Literature and the Pioneer Female Catholic Southern Gothic Author
Mary Flannery O'Connor was born in Savannah, Georgia on March 25, 1925.
There are many influential and
widely known authors that come
from the South, but O'Connor's
birthplace is commonly found more
intriguing than other Southern authors due to her subject material being relatively ironic.
You see... O'Connor's writings
always tended to be a bit...
I apologize if that frightened you... but it was intended to give you the sheer excitement that O'Connor's suspenseful writing tended to give.
Now, although O'Connor's writing was often intriguing and suspenseful, her life story and childhood can not be described as the same.
O'Connor was raised in a minority Irish-Catholic community within the Protestant South, and was taught by the strict Sisters of Mercy at St. Vincent’s Grammar School.
Her days almost always consisted
of going to church, writing for three
hours, reading theology, and
painting farm scenes.
Although her lifestyle could be considered dull by today's standards, it managed to inspire some extremely creative thinking from O'Connor.
Her influences can be picked up by a skewed reflection in her work, illustrated by grotesque or somehow unordinary versions of the Southern people that surrounded her life.
O'Connor's family made the move to Milledgeville in 1938, where her father died of systemic lupus erythematosus. She was an only child and was at the age of 15, and was affected deeply by this close loss.
The loss of her father lead to her decision to stay in Milledgeville and attend the Georgia State College for Women, where she would serve as an editor for the Corinthian, publishing cartoons, essays and poems.
In 1945 O'Connor received a scholarship to attend the University of Iowa, where she would indulge in the master's program in creative writing.
While at the University of Iowa, O'Connor's writing was already beginning to become published work. Her first published story was actually her master thesis, a collection of stories titled
"Wise Blood" was written during her time at University of Iowa, and became her first published novel. This novel went on to win a Rinehart-Iowa Fiction Award, establishing O'Connor as the talented writer her peers began to notice her as and as many would notice in the future.
In 1949, O'Connor moved to Ridgeville, Connecticut for some solitude to focus on her writing. This period of creative thinking was interrupted in 1950 in a rather tragic manner, when she was diagnosed with lupus, the same disease that took her father.
This diagnosis would send her back to
her back to Georgia permanently,
where she would continue to write.
Writing While Fighting
O'Connor's illness did not keep her down,
it was actually during her days of sickness that she wrote her most well-known works.
Amidst her first short story collection included
A Good Man is Hard to Find
, a breakthrough story for O'Connor. Her works were being recognized by this point, but
A Good Man
was the first to really be widely accepted by a large audience. It was the story that if people didn't "get it" before, they began to finally "get it."
Changing the Game
O'Connor's writing was progressive, especially from her standpoint. As an author coming from the South, her grimy methods of storytelling are rather unexpected. A huge factor in Flannery O'Connor's life was Christianity and religion, and it is not exactly expected for someone to come out of a religious family and choose to mainly revolve her stories around evil matters.
In one of her last two public talks, O'Connor responds to the relation of her writing and her Southern background. She said "What has given the South her identity are those beliefs and qualities she absorbed from the Scriptures and from her own history of defeat and violation: a distrust from the abstract, a sense of human dependance on the grace of God, a knowledge that evil is not simply a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be endured."
Flannery O'Connor impacted the world of literature with her dark and sometimes disturbing tales, but she also impacted the world of entertainment with her exemplification of how creativity and timing can take you to very far places. She is a prime example of someone who decided to go out of their box and succeed doing it.
On August 3rd, 1964 after complications from lupus, Flannery O'Connor died at the age of 39.
From her death on, her writing only became more legendary and continued to win awards for years to come, such as the 1972 National Book Awards for her collection titled The Complete Stories. Even recently, O'Connor was inducted as an honoree into the Georgia Women of Achievement in 1992 and in 2000 she was inducted as a member into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame. She was an extremely productive writer, and the writings she did manage to give us in her short time are highly revered.
Today, her life is honored at the Andalusia Home of Flannery O'Connor, as seen in this video that is equally as creepy as O'Connor's tales.
Arbery, Glenn C. "Ontological Splendor: Flannery O'connor In The Protestant South." Intercollegiate Review 46.1 (2011): 41-50.Academic Search Premier. Web. 5 Dec. 2013.
Gooch, Brad. “Flannery O’Connor.” topics.nytimes.com.The New York Times Company. November 20, 2009. Web. December 4, 2013. <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/o/flannery_oconnor/index.html.>
Gordon, Sarah. "Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964)." New Georgia Encyclopedia. 21 August 2013. Web. 04 December 2013.