Flannery O Conner If you try to get more from a writer than what you seen on the page , usually depends on the writer and their ability to make you see, and of course your own imagination. When the writers stories are so different and the characters are so clear, you sometimes think you know something about that writer and who they were. People say that a writer can be found in their words. However, some writers are good writers not only because of their words and works. One writer that goes beyond words is a writer that we have recently read a story on. Flannery O Connor.
The contradictions of violence and faith in her fiction distinguishes her among Southern writers and make one wonder who she was and where she was from. O Connors life greatly influenced her work. Born in Savannah, Georgia, O Connor was educated at the Georgia State College for Women and the State University of Iowa (now called the University of Iowa). Most of her life was spent in Milledgeville, Georgia, where she raised peacocks and wrote. OConnors work , of two novels and two volumes of short stories, has been described as an unlikely mixture of southern Gothic , prophecy and evangelistic Roman Catholicism.
In many of her stories she included rural settings from her homeland. For example Good Country People takes place in rural Georgia. Flannery used her well-known writing styles of grotesque humor in the stories she wrote , including Good Country People. Unlike most of the writers from the South Flannery probably would not have wanted to be found. She was rather quiet in her lifetime and enjoyed the solitude of her home in Milledgeville, Georgia.
It seemed as if there were a part of her that wanted to remain mysterious and unfound. After reading some of her fiction like Good Country People you can see the humorous side she pokes at the world and herself. Her writing , often deep, dark and violent has a flip side it is also humorous. Flannery O Connor remains a powerful voice in literature today. Before her tragic death which claimed her young life at the age of 39, she had written two novels and thirty-two short stories. as well as commentaries and reviews.
She died from Lupus, the same disease which shortened the life of her father. O Connors work has not always been understood completely and appreciated for her unique and powerful themes. Many critics did not like her first novel, Wise Blood , positively because of its seemingly strange themes and characters. However, there was someone who gave her good reviews. Flannery was glad to hear that there was someone who understood her novel and liked it, therefore, she wrote to Brainard Cheney to thank him herself. Later, many times they Cheneys, would visit Flannery at Andalusia, her mothers home just outside Milledgeville or Flannery would repay the visit at their home on symyrna, Tennessee called Cold Chimneys.
They exchanged many letters between them on various subjects, many times it was reading and giving feedback to each others work. Not only did they share their love of writing and learning, but they were Catholic Intillectualists in the heart of the South. Flannery had been a devout Catholic all her life yet was raised in a predominately Protestant geographical area. The Cheneys were relatively new to the world of Catholicism since their conversion and kidding between them would often take place. Brainard Chenney had been an ex-Protestant.
Who found his way back to the Church. O Connors stories combine her Southern Cultural heritage and its people behind her religious and biblical imagery as well as violence. There seem to be no middle ground for her. Things are black and white according to OConnor; there is a road to be taken and one that should be avoided. O Conners world was that way. In this sense, it is simplistic to either live truly and according to ones convictions or not. She also exposes the deceit and hypocrisy in religious institutions through her characters. Through the dark humor and comical overlay of her stories, lies a obvious meaning.
The violence, at times, seems as if she were using it to exaggerate her point. In other words, she was trying to shock people into awareness to see a larger, more important truth. Yet at other times the violence comes as a complete surprise, almost senseless, unnecessary. O Connors writing style is unaffected like many of the Southern towns, characters and townspeople she writes about. However, her style delivers a pointed sword in the readers conscious, as a result , making you look closer at what she is trying to say.
To me, its a strange mixture for a devout Catholic to write about such oddly gross and violent characters who appear to have no conscience and no spiritual light to guide their action. Flannery must have been lonely, because she rarely had visitors and had very few friends. Her debilitating illness was probably a major part of her separating from others to lead such an isolated life. Possibly embarrassed and humble , not wanting sympathy because of her disease , she kept others away. One can see why she wrote about the handicapped , the physically or mentally impaired. Most likely it was a theme that personally related to her.
I believe that all this make it obvious that Flannery O Conners life greatly influenced her work we see examples of this several times in Good Country People Although O Connor was a devout Catholic and claimed her work was religious in nature, her work can be interpreted in many ways. Many critics have only seen her work in a religious way and I think that is limiting . Regardless of your religious point of view O Connors work is worth investigating to make your own conlusions. English Essays.