critical essays on flannery o'connor

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Critical Essays on Flannery O'Connor (Critical Essays on American Literature) Hardcover – July 1, 1985

  • Print length 227 pages
  • Language English
  • Publisher G K Hall
  • Publication date July 1, 1985
  • Dimensions 6.5 x 0.75 x 9.75 inches
  • ISBN-10 0816186936
  • ISBN-13 978-0816186938
  • See all details


Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ G K Hall; large type edition (July 1, 1985)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 227 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0816186936
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0816186938
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.15 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.5 x 0.75 x 9.75 inches
  • #4,077 in American Literature Criticism

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critical essays on flannery o'connor

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How Racist Was Flannery O’Connor?

By Paul Elie

Flannery OConnor

In 1943, eighteen-year-old Mary Flannery O’Connor went north on a summer trip. Growing up in Georgia—she spent her childhood in Savannah, and went to high school in Milledgeville—she saw herself as a writer and artist in the making. She created illustrated books “too old for children and too young for grown-ups” and dryly titled an assemblage of her poems “The Priceless Works of M. F. O’Connor”; she drew cartoons and submitted them to magazines, noting that her hobby was “collecting rejection slips.”

On her travels, she and two cousins visited Manhattan: Chinatown, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and Columbia University. Then they went to Massachusetts, and visited Radcliffe, where one cousin was a student. O’Connor disliked both schools, and said so in letters and postcards to her mother. (Her father had died two years earlier.) Back in Milledgeville, O’Connor studied at the state women’s college (“the institution of higher larning across the road”). In 1945, she made her next trip north, enrolling in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she dropped the Mary (it put her in mind of “an Irish washwoman”) and became Flannery O’Connor.

Less than two decades later, she died, in Milledgeville, of lupus. She was thirty-nine, the author of two novels and a book of stories. A brief obituary in the Times called her “one of the nation’s most promising writers.” Some of her readers dismissed her as a “regional writer”; many didn’t know she was a woman.

We are still learning who Flannery O’Connor was. The materials of her life story have surfaced gradually: essays in 1969, letters in 1979, an annotated Library of America volume in 1988, and a cache of personal items deposited at Emory University in 2012, which yielded the “ Prayer Journal ,” jottings on faith and fiction from her time at Iowa. Each phase has deepened the portrait of the artist and furthered her reputation. Southerners, women, Catholics, and M.F.A.-program instructors now approach her with devotion. We call her Flannery; we see her as a wise elder, a literary saint, poised for revelation at a typewriter set up on the ground floor of a farmhouse near Milledgeville because treatments for lupus left her unable to climb stairs.

O’Connor is now as canonical as Faulkner and Welty. More than a great writer, she’s a cultural figure: a funny lady in a straw hat, puttering among peacocks, on crutches she likened to “flying buttresses.” The farmhouse is open for tours; her visage is on a stamp. A recent book of previously unpublished correspondence, “ Good Things Out of Nazareth ” (Convergent), and a documentary, “Flannery: The Storied Life of the Writer from Georgia,” suggest a completed arc, situating her at the literary center where she might have been all along.

The arc is not complete, however. Those letters and postcards she sent home from the North in 1943 were made available to scholars only in 2014, and they show O’Connor as a bigoted young woman. In Massachusetts, she was disturbed by the presence of an African-American student in her cousin’s class; in Manhattan, she sat between her two cousins on the subway lest she have to sit next to people of color. The sight of white students and black students at Columbia sitting side by side and using the same rest rooms repulsed her.

It’s not fair to judge a writer by her juvenilia. But, as she developed into a keenly self-aware writer, the habit of bigotry persisted in her letters—in jokes, asides, and a steady use of the word “nigger.” For half a century, the particulars have been held close by executors, smoothed over by editors, and justified by exegetes, as if to save O’Connor from herself. Unlike, say, the struggle over Philip Larkin, whose coarse, chauvinistic letters are at odds with his lapidary poetry, it’s not about protecting the work from the author; it’s about protecting an author who is now as beloved as her stories.

The work largely deserves the love it gets. O’Connor’s fiction is full of scenarios that now have the feel of mid-century myths: an evangelist preaching the gospel of a Church Without Christ outside a movie house; a grandmother shot by an escaped convict at the roadside; a Bible salesman seducing a female “interleckshul” in a hayloft and taking her wooden leg. The late story “Parker’s Back,” from 1964, in which a tattooed ex-sailor tries to appease his puritanical wife by getting a life-size face of Christ inked onto his back, is a summa of O’Connor’s effects. There’s outlandish naming (Obadiah Elihue Parker), blunt characterization (“The skin on her face was thin and drawn as tight as the skin on an onion and her eyes were gray and sharp like the points of two icepicks”), and pungent speech (“Mr. Parker . . . You’re a walking panner-rammer!”). There’s the way the action hurtles to an end both comic and profound, and the sense, as she put it in an essay, “that something is going on here that counts.” There’s the attractive-repulsive force of religion, as Parker submits to the tattooer’s needle in the hope of making himself a holy image of Christ. And there’s a preoccupation with human skin, and skin coloring, as a locus of conflict.

O’Connor defined herself as a novelist, but many readers now come to her through her essays and letters, and the core truth to emerge from the expansion of her body of work is that the nonfiction is as strong and strange as the fiction. The 1969 book of essays, “ Mystery and Manners ,” is both an astute manual on the craft of writing and a statement of precepts for the religious artist; the 1979 book of letters, “ The Habit of Being ,” is bedside reading as wisdom literature, at once companionable and full of barbed, contrarian insights. That they are books was part of O’Connor’s design. She made carbon copies of her letters with publication in mind: fearing that lupus would cut her life short, as it had her father’s, she used the letters and essays to shape the posthumous interpretation of her fiction.

Even much of the material left out of those books is tart and epigrammatic. Here is O’Connor, fresh from Iowa, on what a writing program can do for a writer:

It can put him in the way of experienced writers and literary critics, people who are usually able to tell him after not too long a time whether he should go on writing or enroll immediately in the School of Dentistry.

Here she is on life in Milledgeville, from a 1948 letter to the director of Yaddo, the writers’ colony in upstate New York:

Lately we have been treated to some parades by the Ku Klux Klan. . . . The Grand Dragon and the Grand Cyclops were down from Atlanta and both made big speeches on the Court House square while hundreds of men stamped and hollered inside sheets. It’s too hot to burn a fiery cross, so they bring a portable one made with electric light bulbs.

On her first encounter, in 1956, with the scholar William Sessions:

He arrived promptly at 3:30, talking, talked his way across the grass and up the steps and into a chair and continued talking from that position without pause, break, breath, or gulp until 4:50. At 4:50 he departed to go to Mass (Ascension Thursday) but declared he would like to return after it so I thereupon invited him to supper with us. 5:50 brings him back, still talking, and bearing a sack of ice cream and cake to the meal. He then talked until supper but at that point he met a little head wind in the form of my mother, who is also a talker. Her stories have a non-stop quality, but every now and then she does have to refuel and every time she came down, he went up.

Reviewers of O’Connor’s fiction were vexed by her characters’ lack of interiority. Admirers of the nonfiction have reversed the charge, taking up the idea that the most vivid character in her work is Flannery O’Connor. The new film adroitly introduces the author-as-character. The directors—Mark Bosco, a Jesuit priest who teaches a course on O’Connor at Georgetown, and Elizabeth Coffman, who teaches film at Loyola University Chicago—draw on a full spread of archival material and documentary effects. The actress Mary Steenburgen reads passages from the letters; several stories are animated, with an eye to O’Connor’s adage that “to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures.” There’s a clip from John Huston’s 1979 film of her singular first novel, “Wise Blood,” which she wrote at Yaddo and in Connecticut before the onset of lupus forced her to return home. Erik Langkjaer, a publishing sales rep O’Connor fell in love with, describes their drives in the country. Alice Walker tells of living “across the way” from the farmhouse during her teens, not knowing that a writer lived there: “It was one of my brothers who took milk from her place to the creamery in town. When we drove into Milledgeville, the cows that we saw on the hillside going into town would have been the cows of the O’Connors.”

In May, 1955, O’Connor went to New York to promote her story collection, “ A Good Man Is Hard to Find ,” on TV. The rare footage of O’Connor lights up the documentary. She sits, very still, in a velvet-trimmed black dress; her accent is strong, her demeanor assured. “I understand you are living on a farm,” the host prompts. “Yes,” she says. “I only live on one, though. I don’t see much of it. I’m a writer, and I farm from the rocking chair.” He asks her if she is a regional writer, and she replies:

I think that to overcome regionalism, you must have a great deal of self-knowledge. I think that to know yourself is to know your region, and that it’s also to know the world, and in a sense, paradoxically, it’s also to be an exile from that world. So that you have a great deal of detachment.

That is a profound and stringent definition of the writer’s calling. It locates the writer’s art in the refinement of her character: the struggle to overcome an outlook that is an obstacle to a greater good, the letting go of the comforts of home. And it recognizes that detachment can leave the writer alone and apart.

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At Iowa and in Connecticut, O’Connor had begun to read European fiction and philosophy, and her work, old-time in its particulars, is shot through with contemporary thought: Gabriel Marcel’s Christian existentialism, Martin Buber’s sense of “the eclipse of God.” She saw herself as “a Catholic peculiarly possessed of the modern consciousness” and saw the South as “Christ-haunted.”

All this can suggest points of similarity with Martin Luther King, Jr., another Georgian who was infused with Continental ideas up north and then returned south to take up a brief, urgent calling. Born four years apart, they grasped the Bible’s pertinence to current events, and saw religion as the tie that bound blacks and whites—as in her second novel, “ The Violent Bear It Away ,” from 1960, which opens with a black farmer giving a white preacher a Christian burial. O’Connor and King shared a gift for the convention-upending gesture, as in her story “The Enduring Chill,” in which a white man tries to affirm equality with the black workers on his mother’s farm by smoking cigarettes with them in the barn.

O’Connor lectured in a dozen states and often went to Atlanta to visit her doctors; she saw plenty of the changing South. That’s clear from her 1961 story “Everything That Rises Must Converge.” (The title alludes to a thesis advanced by the French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who saw the world as gradually “divinized” by human activity in a kind of upward spiral.) A white man, living at home after college, takes his mother to “reducing class” on a newly integrated city bus. The sight of an African-American woman wearing the same style of hat that his mother is wearing stirs him to reflect on all that joins them. The sight of a black boy in the woman’s company prompts his mother to give the boy a gift: a penny with Lincoln’s profile on it. Things get grim after that.

The story was published in “Best American Short Stories” and won an O. Henry Prize in 1963. O’Connor declared that it was all she had to say on “That Issue.” It wasn’t. In May, 1964, she wrote to her friend Maryat Lee, a playwright who was born in Tennessee, lived in New York, and was ardent for civil rights:

About the Negroes, the kind I don’t like is the philosophizing prophesying pontificating kind, the James Baldwin kind. Very ignorant but never silent. Baldwin can tell us what it feels like to be a Negro in Harlem but he tries to tell us everything else too. M. L. King I dont think is the ages great saint but he’s at least doing what he can do & has to do. Don’t know anything about Ossie Davis except that you like him but you probably like them all. My question is usually would this person be endurable if white. If Baldwin were white nobody would stand him a minute. I prefer Cassius Clay. “If a tiger move into the room with you,” says Cassius, “and you leave, that dont mean you hate the tiger. Just means you know you and him can’t make out. Too much talk about hate.” Cassius is too good for the Moslems.

That passage, published in “The Habit of Being,” echoed a remark in a 1959 letter, also to Maryat Lee, who had suggested that Baldwin—his “Letter from the South” had just run in Partisan Review —could pay O’Connor a visit while on a subsequent reporting trip. O’Connor demurred:

No I can’t see James Baldwin in Georgia. It would cause the greatest trouble and disturbance and disunion. In New York it would be nice to meet him; here it would not. I observe the traditions of the society I feed on—it’s only fair. Might as well expect a mule to fly as me to see James Baldwin in Georgia. I have read one of his stories and it was a good one.

O’Connor-lovers have been downplaying those remarks ever since. But they are not hot-mike moments or loose talk. They were written at the same desk where O’Connor wrote her fiction and are found in the same lode of correspondence that has brought about the rise in her stature. This has put her champions in a bind—upholding her letters as eloquently expressive of her character, but carving out exceptions for the nasty parts.

Last year, Fordham University hosted a symposium on O’Connor and race, supported with a grant from the author’s estate. The organizer, Angela Alaimo O’Donnell, edits a series of books on Catholic writers funded by the estate, has compiled a book of devotions drawn from O’Connor’s work, and has written a book of poems that “channel the voice” of the author. In a new volume in the series, “ Radical Ambivalence: Race in Flannery O’Connor ” (Fordham), she takes up Flannery and That Issue. Proposing that O’Connor’s work is “race-haunted,” she applies techniques from whiteness studies and critical race theory, as well as Toni Morrison’s idea of “Africanist ‘othering.’ ” O’Donnell presents a previously unpublished passage on race and engages with scholars who have offered context for the racist remarks. Although she is palpably anguished about O’Connor’s race problem, she winds up reprising those earlier arguments in current literary-critical argot, treating O’Connor as “transgressive in her writing about race” but prone to lapses and excesses that stemmed from social forces beyond her control.

The context arguments go like this. O’Connor was a writer of her place and time, and her limitations were those of “the culture that had produced her.” Forced by illness to return to Georgia, she was made captive to a “Southern code of manners” that maintained whites’ superiority over blacks, but her fiction subjects the code to scrutiny. Although she used racial epithets carelessly in her correspondence, she dealt with race courageously in the fiction, depicting white characters pitilessly and creating upstanding black characters who “retain an inviolable privacy.” And she was admirably leery of cultural appropriation. “I don’t feel capable of entering the mind of a Negro,” she told an interviewer—a reluctance that Alice Walker lauded in a 1975 essay.

All the contextualizing produces a seesaw effect, as it variously cordons off the author from history, deems her a product of racist history, and proposes that she was as oppressed by that history as anybody else was. It backdates O’Connor as a writer of her time when she was a near-contemporary of writers typically seen as writers of our time: Gabriel García Márquez (born 1927), Maya Angelou (1928), Ursula K. Le Guin (1929), Tom Wolfe (1930), and Derek Walcott (1930), among others. It suggests that white racism in Georgia was all-encompassing and brooked no dissent, even though (as O’Donnell points out) Georgia was then changing more dramatically than at any point before or since. Patronizingly, it proposes that O’Connor, a genius who prized detachment, lacked the free will to think for herself.

Another writer of that cohort is Toni Morrison, who was born in Ohio in 1931 and became a Catholic at the age of twelve. Morrison published “ Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination ” in 1992. “The fabrication of an Africanist persona” by a white writer, she proposed, “is reflexive: an extraordinary meditation on the self; a powerful exploration of the fears and desires that reside in the writerly consciousness.” Invoking Morrison, O’Donnell argues that O’Connor’s fiction is fundamentally a working-through of her own racism, and that the offending remarks in the letters “tell us . . . that O’Connor understood evil in the form of racism from the inside, as one who has practiced it.”

The clinching evidence is “Revelation,” drafted in late 1963. This extraordinary story involves Ruby Turpin—a white Southerner in middle age, the owner of a dairy farm—and her encounter in a doctor’s waiting room with a Wellesley-educated young woman, also white, who is so repulsed by Turpin’s condescension toward people there that she cries out, “Go back to hell where you came from, you old wart hog.” This arouses Turpin to quarrel with God as she surveys a hog pen on her property, and calls forth a magnificent final image of the hereafter in Turpin’s eyes—the people of the rural South heading heavenward. Some say this “vision” redeems the author on That Issue. Brad Gooch, in a 2009 biography , likened it to the dream that Martin Luther King, Jr., spelled out in August, 1963; O’Donnell, drawing on a remark in the letters, depicts it as a “vision O’Connor has been wresting from God every day for much of her life.” Seeing it that way is a stretch. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech envisioned blacks and whites holding hands at the end of time; Turpin’s vision, by contrast, is a segregationist’s vision, in which people process to Heaven by race and class, equal but separate, white landowners such as Turpin preceded (the last shall be first) by “bands of black niggers in white robes, and battalions of freaks and lunatics shouting and clapping and leaping like frogs.”

After revising “Revelation” in early 1964, O’Connor wrote several letters to Maryat Lee. Many scholars maintain that their letters (often signed with nicknames) are a comic performance, with Lee playing the over-the-top liberal and O’Connor the dug-in gradualist, but O’Connor’s most significant remarks on race in her letters to Lee are plainly sincere. On May 3, 1964—as Richard Russell, Democrat of Georgia, led a filibuster in the Senate to block the Civil Rights Act—O’Connor set out her position in a passage now published for the first time: “You know, I’m an integrationist by principle & a segregationist by taste anyway. I don’t like negroes. They all give me a pain and the more of them I see, the less and less I like them. Particularly the new kind.” Two weeks after that, she told Lee of her aversion to the “philosophizing prophesying pontificating kind.” Ravaged by lupus, she wrote Lee a note to say that she was checking in to the hospital, signing it “Mrs. Turpin.” She died at home ten weeks later.

Those remarks show a view clearly maintained and growing more intense as time went on. They were objectionable when O’Connor made them. And yet—the argument goes—they’re just remarks, made in chatty letters by an author in extremis. They’re expressive but not representative. Her “public work” (as the scholar Ralph C. Wood calls it) is more complex, and its significance for us lies in its artfully mixed messages, for on race none of us is without sin and in a position to cast a stone.

That argument, however, runs counter to history and to O’Connor’s place in it. It sets up a false equivalence between the “segregationist by taste” and those brutally oppressed by segregation. And it draws a neat line between O’Connor’s fiction and her other writing where race is involved, even though the long effort to move her from the margins to the center has proceeded as if that line weren’t there. Those remarks don’t belong to the past, or to the South, or to literary ephemera. They belong to the author’s body of work; they help show us who she was.

Posterity, in literature, is a strange god—consecrating Dickinson and Melville as American divines, repositioning T. S. Eliot as a man on the run from a Missouri boyhood and a bad marriage. Posterity has favored Flannery O’Connor: the readers of her work today far outnumber those in her lifetime. After her death, the racist passages were stumbling blocks to the next generation’s encounter with her, and it made a kind of sense to sidestep them. Now the reluctance to face them squarely is itself a stumbling block, one that keeps us from approaching her with the seriousness that a great writer deserves.

There’s a way forward, rooted in the work. For twenty years, the director Karin Coonrod has staged dramatic adaptations of O’Connor’s stories. Following a stipulation of the author’s estate, she uses every word: narration, description, dialogue, imagery, and racial epithets. Members of the multiracial cast circulate the full text fluidly from actor to actor, character to character, so that the author’s words, all of them, ring out in her own voice and in other voices, too. ♦

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Flannery O’Connor’s challenge to the Lost Cause myths of the Confederacy

A little-known o’connor story explores the human cost of self-deception..

Confederate monument at Arlington National Cemetery

Imagine that you or someone you know participated in or in some way enabled a horrific act of sustained brutality and that, in order to erase the memory of these misdeeds, you then attempted to convince others that what was done was in fact a heroic defense of a noble ideal. Imagine the extent you would go to in order to convince others that what you fought for was not a reason for penitence but rather a cause that God would vindicate. Imagine that this historical erasure was so thorough that many people came to believe your cause was morally pure. And imagine that you then built monuments to your self-deception and were able to convince others that these monuments were now a sacred part of the landscape of the very same nation that you sought to extricate yourself from.

This, arguably, is the logic behind the Lost Cause and its many monuments to the Confederacy—totems of a 150-year campaign to historically reimagine the meaning of the Civil War. The years from 1890 to 1920 marked the high point of this campaign, led by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and other groups which today protest “heritage violations” of their ongoing program of public commemoration. And they have not lost: Confederate revisionism, in the soft form of preservationism, as opposed to the blunt-force tactics of rallies and protests, is now the provenance of local, state, and even federal governments.

image of cover

Two weeks after the Confederate battle flag was removed from statehouse grounds in Columbia, South Carolina, in July 2015, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a law protecting “monuments and memorials commemorating events, persons, and military service in North Carolina history.” Despite the apparent catholicity of its protections, the Cultural History Artifact Management and Patriotism Act was clearly aimed at granting asylum to Confederate monuments and memorials around the state, based on the notion that, as its proponents argued, to remove them from courthouse lawns and university quadrangles would be to “erase history.” The flag episode in Columbia was a catalyst for a storm of neo-Confederate protest, which intensified during the 2016 election cycle and came to a head at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017. The sharp reaction against the Charlottesville rally did not mean that all was lost for the Lost Cause. Far from it.

In December 2018, the Smithsonian Institution found that taxpayers had contributed over $40 million to the preservations of Confederate sites. The Department of Veterans Affairs, a federal agency, spends millions of dollars each year in order to secure Confederate cemeteries in Virginia, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency contributes thousands for “protective measures” for Jefferson Davis’s former home in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Federal curacy of Confederate burial grounds is not a new phenomenon: it goes back at least to 1900, when a couple hundred Confederate soldiers were reinterred in Arlington National Cemetery. Within 15 years, President Woodrow Wilson was at the site to dedicate a monument to the Con­federate dead, confident the nation was ready to put behind it the “fraternal misunderstandings” that led to war. By the end of World War I, the specious history of the Lost Cause had become a popular fiction serviceable for advancing the military and political interests of white Americans both at home and overseas. A hundred years later, the federal government would be paying to protect memorials to honor people it had once regarded as treasonous. It was a stunning if slow-moving turnabout: a version of history that could objectively be called white supremacist propaganda now has legal protection from the government against whose authority the patrons of that mythology originally revolted.

Propping up an illusory history has a price, and not just on balance sheets. The human cost of such self-deception is the subject of an early and little-known story by Flannery O’Connor, “A Late Encounter with the Enemy.” Originally published in Harper’s Bazaar in 1953 and included in A Good Man Is Hard to Find two years later, the story is about the ways in which the burdens of history, when honestly confronted, can bring not enlightenment but devastation.

“Late Encounter” is barely ten pages in the Library of America edition. It is hardly one of her major works (O’Connor described it as “not so bad”), and it rarely figures in critical studies of her work. But it is notable for being the only piece of her fiction that directly treats the Civil War and its legacy. The story is only superficially about the war, though; it is really about the way in which the war is—or is not—remembered. It is a story about memory and the deep conflict between public commemoration, sectarian mythology, and historical reality.

“Late Encounter” is structurally simple: there is a single main scene framing one flashback. Sally Poker Sash is about to attend her college graduation, the joyful fruit of a protracted education spread out over 20 summers while she was teaching school. It’s such a big deal that she has invited her 104-year-old grandfather, a Confederate veteran, to attend in full military dress. Sally arranges for him to sit up on stage—not so that he will have a good view of the proceedings but because she wants him to be seen: “she wanted to show what she stood for, or, as she said, ‘what all was behind her,’ and was not behind them. This them was not anybody in particular. It was just all the upstarts who had turned the world on its head and unsettled the ways of decent living.” She wants the crowd to see him, and herself through him—“Glorious upright old man stand-in for the old traditions! Dignity! Honor! Courage!”—as a rebuke to their wanton ways.

It’s not hard to hear in this passage the ways in which O’Connor herself wrestled with the tension between the traditions of white Southern society and the expanding movement for rights for African Americans. O’Connor was hardly a radical integrationist and was not innocent of racist prejudice. She was often condescending toward blacks and—in 1952 at least—could not honestly be called a diligent student of racial equality and the traditions of African American literature.

On the other hand, her work often gestures beyond the narrow racial imaginary of Georgia in the 1950s, and at its most cutting and poignant it ruthlessly undermines the heritage of white supremacy and the mythologies that support it. Her most powerful stories, such as “Revelation,” include a radical vision of the kingdom of God and a savage and hilarious mockery of white pieties.

“Late Encounter” is one of these stories. It offers a brief but profound meditation on the debilitating nature of selective memory, the personal and public costs of self-serving falsehoods, and in­difference to the past. This indifference is concentrated into “five feet four inches of pure game cock,” General Tennessee Flintlock Sash of the Confederacy. Sally Sash is aware that her grandfather had not actually been a general at all. The general himself neither knows nor cares what he is or was: “He had probably been a foot soldier; he didn’t remember what he had been; in fact, he didn’t remember that war at all.” The memory of the war is like a dead appendage that does and does not belong to him:

It was like his feet, which hung down now shriveled at the very end of him, without feeling, covered with a blue-gray afghan that Sally Poker had crocheted when she was a little girl. He didn’t remember the Spanish-American War in which he had lost a son; he didn’t even remember the son. He didn’t have any use for history because he never expected to meet it again. To his mind, history was connected with processions and life with parades and he liked parades.

General Sash prefers “parades with floats full of Miss Americas and Miss Daytona Beaches and Miss Queen Cotton Products” to processions, especially “dreary black” ones with their interminable obsession with the past.

The only episode from the past that General Sash bothers to hang on to is “that preemy they had in Atlanta” 12 years earlier, when he was first given the general’s uniform. The event alluded to is the official premiere of Gone with the Wind in Atlanta on December 15, 1939, attended by Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, and a starstruck Margaret Mitchell. Seated next to glammed-up Hollywood stars and starlets that night, the Atlanta Constitution reported, were four men in their nineties “in freshly pressed, be-medalled grey uniforms. They sat alone, huddled in companionable silence, lost in thoughts brought back sharply by the raw scenes of a ravished Georgia countryside.”

O’Connor makes the scene even more theatrical: before the picture, General Sash is trotted out before the gala audience, a Hollywood “gul” on each arm. In describing the way Sash is “lent” to the city museum every Confederate Memorial Day, O’Connor’s language is cinematic: Sash is like a stage prop intended to “lend atmosphere to the scene.” Sash is a totem of public memory, drained of life to the degree to which he is indifferent to the past.

As O’Connor tells it, when General Sash made his en­trance into the theater, members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy began to clap, and later they “rose as a group and did not sit down again until the general was on the stage.” O’Connor is slyly mocking the overtly religious groupthink of the UDC, which acts almost automatically, as if with a single mind. When his moment has passed, the general is whisked off stage and back to his seat, where he sleeps through the entire movie.

On the stage for his granddaughter’s graduation, the general is in a different mood. He is attended to by Sally’s nephew, John Wesley Poker Sash—“a fat blond boy of ten with an executive expression”—and they make quite a pair, the general in his “courageous gray” and the “clean” young blond boy in his Scout khakis. The neutral colors of white Southern memory—blond, grey, khaki—are bland, flat, and dull but loaded with historical symbolism: a visual convergence of the grey of Confederate soldiers and the tan of Nazi brownshirts. Together they are threatened by the “black procession” that winds its way across the campus and into the auditorium. It is a reprise of the movie premiere a dozen years earlier, but this time the scene is framed not in terms of entertainment but of education: “The graduates in their heavy robes looked as if the last beads of ignorance were being sweated out of them.”

O’Connor repeats the word black over and over again as General Sash sits on the stage watching the black procession relentlessly pressing toward him and forming a “black pool” in front of him. The general has the sensation of a tiny hole opening up in his skull and of knowledge being poured into it against his will. At the beginning of the ceremony itself, a “black figure” begins “telling something about history and the General made up his mind he wouldn’t listen, but the words kept seeping through the little hole in his head.”

The words come on all the same, bearing down on and into Sash. He tries to resist. “He had forgotten history and he didn’t intend to remember it. He had forgotten the name and face of his wife and the names and faces of his children or even if he had a wife and children, and he had forgotten the names of places and the places themselves and what had happened at them.”

Along with the “slow black music” of the graduation ceremony, names keep coming in a relentless march: Chickamauga, Shiloh, Johnston, Lee. General Sash tries to shore himself against the onslaught of historical particularity by summoning up again the memory of the premiere in Atlanta, the city that for O’Connor represents fake history, collective memory as processed by Disney and Hollywood. Like the black procession itself, the words continue to press toward him.

“Dammit!” he thinks to himself, “I ain’t going to have it!“ Against the encroaching tidal wave of blackness—the “figure in the black robe,” the “black pool in front of him,” the “black slow music”—the artificiality of Sash’s memory begins frantically to retreat, then to yield. The unacknowledged hellhound on his trail, the reality of history begins to crash upon him: “He recognized it, for it had been dogging all his days. He made such a desperate effort to see over it and find out what comes after the past that his hand clenched the sword until the blade touched bone.”

Ultimately the contest in “Late Encounter” is between the soothing, mythologized version of history we wish to remember and the ugly reality that we cannot ignore. The general’s recognition of his own complicity in real history—and the implicit costs of Lost Cause mythology in contributing to the disfranchisement of African Americans—is overpowering. When Sally crosses the stage she sees her grandfather “sitting fixed and fierce, his eyes wide open.” Historical truth has brought Sash to a kind of new awareness—but it has also cost him his life. Sally mistakes his wide-eyed expression for grandfatherly pride, but in fact it is the death-stare of an existential scouring, a religious encounter with truth’s violent steamrolling of pious falsehood.

Sally Poker is not alone in mistaking an expression of horror for one of adulation. Americans in general have excelled at this sort of category error, and while the Lost Cause represents the most prominent contemporary example of a fake history that still survives under the guise of a story of heroic resistance, the phenomenon is not limited to Lost Causers.

What if history is not at all the way we prefer to remember it? Could it be that monuments—not just public ones but also those our own personal histories are made of—are tokens of a tacit agreement to forget certain difficult truths? Directed both generally at an inveterate human skill for self-deception and specifically at the mythology of the Lost Cause, the question that O’Connor’s “Late Encounter” puts to the reader is both blunt and surgical: What if you are wrong about what it is you think you were fighting for?

A version of this article appears in the print edition under the title “Monuments to a lie.”

Pete Candler

Pete Candler is a writer in Asheville, North Carolina. He is currently working on a book about the American South.

We would love to hear from you. Let us know what you think about this article by emailing our editors .

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Home › Literature › Analysis of Flannery O’Connor’s Good Country People

Analysis of Flannery O’Connor’s Good Country People

By NASRULLAH MAMBROL on May 25, 2021

In a memorable contribution to her stories that use the grotesque , Flannery O’Connor’s “Good Country People” ironically reverses the old saying that country people are good and its corollary, simple. Set in Georgia, the story features three women and a Bible salesman.

As in most of O’Connor’s stories, the unselfconscious third-person narrator injects comic overtones or, more accurately, those of black humor, to entertain readers as they become acquainted with these markedly peculiar characters. Mrs. Hopewell, the initiator of the “good country people” idea, speaks in clichés equivalent to “Have a good day.” Her foil is her maid, Mrs. Freeman, who, in her fascination with all forms of sickness, disease, and abnormality, tells revolting tales about her daughters (Glynese and Carramae) and exhibits a perverse fascination with Mrs. Hopewell’s large, hulking, 32-yearold daughter, Joy. Joy had lost her leg at age 10; she lumbers and stumps around on a wooden one and has changed her name to Hulga . Joy-Hulga brags to the two older women about her doctorate in philosophy, boasting that she believes in nothing at all.

critical essays on flannery o'connor

Philip Roth/The New Yorker

When Manley Pointer arrives on the scene with his Bibles and his humorously phallic name, the reader expects that Hulga will exert her strong will on him and seduce him. But he has only been playing the part of a simple, good country person, and his briefcase contains a false bottom under which he keeps liquor, condoms, and items he steals from women with deformities. He has, he informs Hulga as he runs off with her wooden leg, believed in nothing since birth. Hulga, for all her degrees and pride in her intellectual power, has been played for a fool, losing not her virginity but her carefully cultivated outward sense of superiority to others less educated. As Ann Charters points out, “However dastardly Pointer’s actions, he forces Hulga to feel and acknowledge her emotions for the first time,” and our final impression is that Hulga may learn from this humbling experience, becoming “less presumptuous and closer to psychic wholeness” (136). Hulga and her mother must correct and surmount their complacency and naïveté, for the story suggests that without a strong philosophy and spiritual beliefs, they remain at the mercy of the Manley Pointers and Mrs. Freemans, significantly connected through their similar names, who also believe in nothing but have less difficulty surviving.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Charters, Ann. Resources for Teaching: Major Writers of Short Fiction. Boston: Bedford Books/St. Martin’s, 1993. O’Connor, Flannery. “Good Country People.” In Contemporary American Literature, edited by George Perkins and Barbara Perkins. New York: Random House, 1988.

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Critical Insights: Short Fiction of Flannery O'Connor

Tags: 2 Introductory Essays 4 Critical Context Essays 9 Critical Reading Essays Current Critical Analysis by Top Literary Scholars Introductory Essay by the Editor Chronology of Author's Life Publication Dates of Works Detailed Bio of the Editor General Bibliography General Subject Index

As one of the prominent writers of the Southern Gothic genre in the mid-20th Century, Flannery O’Connor used short fiction to explore grotesque characters, Southern settings, questions of morality, and Roman Catholic themes. This volume examines and closely analyzes O’Connor’s best and least-known works, such as “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” Good Country People,” and “Temple of the Holy Ghost.”

Critical Insights: Short Fiction of Flannery O'Connor   explores an author who had an immediate and enduring impact on the American literary dialogue. Her short fiction is routinely included in standard anthologies. These books often offer several stories by O'Connor, while reprinting only single stories by numerous other writers. Her continuing prominence implies that she is certainly one of the greatest writers of short fiction the United States has ever produced. This title places O'Connor's short stories in a variety of contexts and discusses them from many different points of view.

Each  Critical Insights  is divided into four sections:

An Introduction – The book and the author The present volume seeks to place O’Connor’s short stories in a variety of contexts and to discuss them from many different points of view. The volume opens with a “lead” essay by Robert Donahoo that looks at O’Connor’s stories in light of the impact of World War II and the veterans who returned from that conflict as well as from the Korean War. Donahoo’s essay is then followed by a brief overview of O’Connor’s life by Kelhi D. DePace, who traces the development of O’Connor’s highly successful but all-too-brief career, which was cut short by a terminal illness.

Critical Contexts The introduction is followed by four deliberately contextual pieces. The first sets O’Connor within the conservative political and cultural contexts of her times. That is followed by an essay surveying, in great detail, the initial critical responses to O’Connor’s short fiction. A discussion of the relatively neglected topic of  Form  in O'Connor's stories is the topic of the third essay in this section. Rounding off the Critical Context essays is on that compares and contrasts O'Connor's works with those of the African American writer Alice Walker.

Critical Readings The next section of this book offers a series of individual “critical perspectives” on O’Connor’s work. This section is organized in roughly chronological order, moving in general from the beginnings to the final stages of her career.

In this section, O'Connor's works are looked in within a literal-historical context, largely influence by other nineteenth-century writers. O'Connor's works are explored in the ways she treats the issue of Christian grace in her fiction, and how she uses silence and silences in her religiously inflected writings. Following this, is an article that sets O'Connor's writing and thinking within an ecological context that is also relevant to her deepest religious and spiritual concerns.

Switching topical focus of O'Connor's works, one author draws on the study of the author's manuscripts to deal with the topic of race. Another topic of focus is the author's essay about a severely afflicted and terminally ill little girl helps illuminate her treatment of suffering and moral responsibility in one of her stories. And finally, the volume closes with an essay that describes and paraphrases Flannery O'Connor's comments made in letters from 1979. These comments have never before been made available.

Each essay is 2,500-5,000 words in length and all essays conclude with a list of "Works Cited," along with endnotes.

Additional Resources:

  • Chronology of Flannery O'Connor's Life
  • Works by Flannery O'Connor
  • Bibliography
  • About the Editor
  • Contributors

View a Full List of Literature Titles

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critical essays on flannery o'connor

November 2013

Introduction to Literary Context: American Short Fiction

Students and researchers will discover the vast range of styles, themes, and approaches used by such notables as Edgar Allen Poe, Jamaica Kincaid, Alice Munro, Ambrose Bierce, William Faulkner, and more, to gain a better understanding of the significance, meaning and context of American Post-Modernist literature.

critical essays on flannery o'connor

Critical Insights: Crisis of Faith

Outstanding, in-depth scholarship by renowned literary critics; great starting point for students seeking an introduction to the theme and the critical discussions surrounding it.

critical essays on flannery o'connor

September 2011

Critical Insights: Flannery O'Connor

This volume is an effort to introduce O'Connor to a new generation of readers by including previously published essays that clarify her religious ideas, her narrative technique, her use of humor, and the regional and social context of her fiction.

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About the Author/Editor

Sura P. Rath (Editor) SURA P. RATH is a professor of English, and department chair, at Louisiana State University, Shreveport. Mary Neff Shaw (Editor) MARY NEFF SHAW is an assistant professor of English at Louisiana State University, Shreveport.


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A weatherworn farmhouse in Kansas sits in an empty landscape, surrounded by stars. A streak of white is seen running at an angle through the sky.

One Satellite Signal Rules Modern Life. What if Someone Knocks It Out?

Threats are mounting in space. GPS signals are vulnerable to attack. Their time-keeping is essential for stock trading, power transmission and more.

In this long exposure, a string of SpaceX Starlink satellites passed over an old stone house in 2021 near Florence, Kan. Credit... Reed Hoffmann/Associated Press

Supported by

Selam Gebrekidan

By Selam Gebrekidan ,  John Liu and Chris Buckley

  • March 28, 2024

The United States and China are locked in a new race, in space and on Earth, over a fundamental resource: time itself.

And the United States is losing.

Global positioning satellites serve as clocks in the sky, and their signals have become fundamental to the global economy — as essential for telecommunications, 911 services and financial exchanges as they are for drivers and lost pedestrians.

But those services are increasingly vulnerable as space is rapidly militarized and satellite signals are attacked on Earth.

Yet, unlike China, the United States does not have a Plan B for civilians should those signals get knocked out in space or on land.

The risks may seem as remote as science fiction. But just last month, the United States said that Russia may deploy a nuclear weapon into space , refocusing attention on satellites’ vulnerability. And John E. Hyten , an Air Force general who also served as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and who is now retired, once called some satellites “big, fat, juicy targets.”

Tangible threats have been growing for years.

Russia, China, India and the United States have tested antisatellite missiles, and several major world powers have developed technology meant to disrupt signals in space. One Chinese satellite has a robotic arm that could destroy or move other satellites.

Other attacks are occurring on Earth. Russian hackers targeted a satellite system’s ground infrastructure in Ukraine , cutting off internet at the start of the war there. Attacks like jamming, which drowns out satellite signals, and spoofing, which sends misleading data, are increasing, diverting flights and confounding pilots far from battlefields.

If the world were to lose its connection to those satellites, the economic losses would amount to billions of dollars a day.

President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Yuri Borisov, the head of Russia’s space program, look at space-related technology.

Despite recognizing the risks, the United States is years from having a reliable alternative source for time and navigation for civilian use if GPS signals are out or interrupted, documents show and experts say. The Transportation Department, which leads civilian projects for timing and navigation, disputed this, but did not provide answers to follow-up questions.

A 2010 plan by the Obama administration, which experts had hoped would create a backup to satellites, never took off. A decade later, President Donald J. Trump issued an executive order that said that the disruption or manipulation of satellite signals posed a threat to national security. But he did not suggest an alternative or propose funding to protect infrastructure.

The Biden administration is soliciting bids from private companies, hoping they will offer technical solutions. But it could take years for those technologies to be widely adopted.

Where the United States is lagging, China is moving ahead, erecting what it says will be the largest, most advanced and most precise timing system in the world.

It is building hundreds of timing stations on land and laying 12,000 miles of fiber-optic cables underground, according to planning documents, state media and academic papers. That infrastructure can provide time and navigation services without relying on signals from Beidou, China’s alternative to GPS. It also plans to launch more satellites as backup sources of signals.

“We should seize this strategic opportunity, putting all our efforts into building up capabilities covering all domains — underwater, on the ground, in the air, in space and deep space — as soon as possible,” researchers from the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation, a state-owned conglomerate, wrote in a paper last year .

China retained and upgraded a World War II-era system, known as Loran, that uses radio towers to beam time signals across long distances. An enhanced version provides signals to the eastern and central parts of the country, extending offshore to Taiwan and parts of Japan. Construction is underway to expand the system west.

Russia, too, has a long-range Loran system that remains in use. South Korea has upgraded its system to counter radio interference from North Korea.

The United States, though, decommissioned its Loran system in 2010, with President Barack Obama calling it “obsolete technology.” There was no plan to replace it.

In January, the government and private companies tested an enhanced version of Loran on U.S. Coast Guard towers. But companies showed no interest in running the system without government help , so the Coast Guard plans to dispose of all eight transmission sites.

“The Chinese did what we in America said we would do,” said Dana Goward, the president of the Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation in Virginia. “They are resolutely on a path to be independent of space.”

What Is the United States Doing?

Since Mr. Trump’s executive order, about a dozen companies have proposed options, including launching new satellites, setting up fiber optic timing systems or restarting an enhanced version of Loran. But few products have come to market.

A private firm, Satelles, working with the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology in Colorado, has developed an alternative source for time using satellites that were already orbiting about 485 miles above Earth.

N.I.S.T. scientists say the signals are a thousand times stronger than those from GPS satellites, which orbit more than 12,000 miles above Earth. That makes them harder to jam or spoof. And because low-Earth-orbit satellites are smaller and more dispersed, they are less vulnerable than GPS satellites to an attack in space.

The satellites obtain time from stations around the world, including the N.I.S.T. facility in Colorado and an Italian research center outside Milan, according to Satelles’s chief executive, Michael O’Connor.

China has similar plans to upgrade its space-time system by 2035. It will launch satellites to augment the Beidou system, and the country plans to launch nearly 13,000 satellites into low-Earth orbit.

China says its investments are partly motivated by concerns about an American attack in space. Researchers from China’s Academy of Military Sciences have said that the United States is “striving all-out” to build its space cyberwarfare abilities, especially after the war in Ukraine brought “a deeper appreciation of the critical nature of space cybersecurity.”

The United States has increased its spending on space defense , but Space Force, a branch of the military, did not answer specific questions about the country’s antisatellite abilities. It said it was building systems to secure the nation’s interests as “space becomes an increasingly congested and contested domain.”

Separate from civilian use, the military is developing GPS backup options for its own use, including for weapons like precision-guided missiles. Most of the technologies are classified, but one solution is a signal called M-code, which Space Force says will resist jamming and perform better in war than civilian GPS. It has been plagued by repeated delays , however.

The military is also developing a positioning, timing and navigation service to be distributed by low-Earth-orbit satellites.

Other countermeasures look to the past. The U.S. Naval Academy resumed teaching sailors to navigate by the stars.

What Happens if the U.S. Doesn’t Find a Solution?

Satellite systems — America’s GPS, China’s Beidou, Europe’s Galileo and Russia’s Glonass — are the important sources of time, and time is the cornerstone of most methods of navigation.

In the American GPS system, for example, each satellite carries atomic clocks and transmits radio signals with information about its location and the precise time. When a cellphone receiver picks up signals from four satellites, it calculates its own location based on how long it took for those signals to arrive.

Cars, ships and navigation systems on board aircraft all operate the same way.

Other infrastructure relies on satellites, too. Telecom companies use precise time to synchronize their networks. Power companies need time from satellites to monitor the state of the grid and to quickly identify and investigate failures. Financial exchanges use it to keep track of orders. Emergency services use it to locate people in need. Farmers use it to plant crops with precision.

A world without satellite signals is a world that is nearly blind. Ambulances will be delayed on perpetually congested roads. Cellphone calls will drop. Ships may get lost. Power outages may last longer. Food can cost more. Getting around will be much harder.

Yet, some critical civilian systems were designed with a flawed assumption that satellite signals would always be available , according to the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

That reliance can have dire consequences. A recent report from Britain showed that a weeklong outage of all satellite signals would cost its economy nearly $9.7 billion. An earlier report put the toll on the U.S. economy at $1 billion a day, but that estimate is five years old.

“It’s like oxygen, you don’t know that you have it until it’s gone,” Adm. Thad W. Allen, a former commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard who leads a national advisory board for space-based positioning, navigation and timing, said last year.

For now, mutually assured losses deter major attacks. Satellite signals are transmitted on a narrow radio band, which makes it difficult for one nation to jam another’s satellite signals without shutting off its own services.

Having GPS for free for 50 years has “gotten everybody addicted,” according to Mr. Goward from the Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation. The government has not done enough to make alternatives available to the public, he said.

“It’s only admiring the problem,” he said, “not solving the problem.”

Selam Gebrekidan is an investigative reporter for The Times whose work focuses on accountability — of governments, companies and people who wield power. More about Selam Gebrekidan

John Liu covers China and technology for The Times, focusing primarily on the interplay between politics and technology supply chains. He is based in Seoul. More about John Liu

Chris Buckley , the chief China correspondent for The Times, reports on China and Taiwan from Taipei, focused on politics, social change and security and military issues. More about Chris Buckley



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    The human cost of such self-deception is the subject of an early and little-known story by Flannery O'Connor, "A Late Encounter with the Enemy.". Originally published in Harper's Bazaar in 1953 and included in A Good Man Is Hard to Find two years later, the story is about the ways in which the burdens of history, when honestly ...

  7. Critical Essays on Flannery O'Connor

    This volume contains include twenty-eight reviews and critical essays related to American writer and essayist Flannery O'Connor's (1925-1964) life and work. The collection begins with an introduction, which survey's O'Connor's career and the critical reaction to it, the remaining selections are arranged into three sections -- the first, offers twelve reviews dealing with O'Connor's two novels ...

  8. Analysis of Flannery O'Connor's The Life You Save May Be Your Own

    By NASRULLAH MAMBROL on May 28, 2021. As a devout Catholic, Flannery O'Connor felt her calling in life was to convert her readers through her stories. As with many of O'Connor's stories, in "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," readers must struggle to define what is and is not morally correct. This is the story about a drifter who ...

  9. Flannery O'Connor; a critical essay : Drake, Robert, 1930- : Free

    Flannery O'Connor; a critical essay by Drake, Robert, 1930-Publication date 1966 Topics O'Connor, Flannery -- Criticism and interpretation, O'Connor, Flannery, O'Connor, Flannery, 1925-1964, Women and literature -- Southern States -- History -- 20th century, Christian fiction, American -- History and criticism, Christianity and literature ...

  10. Analysis of Flannery O'Connor's Good Country People

    By NASRULLAH MAMBROL on May 25, 2021. In a memorable contribution to her stories that use the grotesque, Flannery O'Connor's "Good Country People" ironically reverses the old saying that country people are good and its corollary, simple. Set in Georgia, the story features three women and a Bible salesman. As in most of O'Connor's ...

  11. Online O'Connor Resources

    A Good Writer is Hard to Find Ronald Weber takes a look at the importance of O'Connor's religious faith in her writing in this bio-critical essay. Flannery O'Connor Banned J. Bottom points out the irony of a bishop banning O'Connor from a Catholic school and uses it as a springboard for an exploration of what Catholicism means in the 21st century.

  12. Flannery O'Connor O'Connor, (Mary) Flannery (Vol. 6)

    O'Connor, (Mary) Flannery 1925-1964. Miss O'Connor was an American novelist, short story writer, and essayist whose work is at the center of the Southern Renascence. The groundnote of Miss O ...

  13. Critical Insights: Short Fiction of Flannery O'Connor

    The first sets O'Connor within the conservative political and cultural contexts of her times. That is followed by an essay surveying, in great detail, the initial critical responses to O'Connor's short fiction. A discussion of the relatively neglected topic of Form in O'Connor's stories is the topic of the third essay in this section ...

  14. Flannery O'Connor

    Mary Flannery O'Connor (March 25, 1925 - August 3, 1964) was an American novelist, short story writer and essayist. She wrote two novels and 31 short stories, as well as a number of reviews and commentaries. ... He later published several of her stories in the Sewanee Review, as well as critical essays on her work. Workshop director Paul ...

  15. Flannery O'Connor

    These ten essays, seven of which are previously unpublished, reflect the broadening of critical approaches to Flannery O'Connor's work over the past decade. The essays offer both new directions for, and new insights into, reading O'Connor's fiction. Some essays probe issues that, until recently, had been ignored.

  16. The Short Fiction of Flannery O'Connor: Critical Insights

    Jay Patrick Odenbaugh. In this essay, I critically evaluate components of Michael Weisberg's approach to models and modeling in his book Simulation and Similarity. First, I criticize his account ...

  17. Flannery O'Connor

    Flannery O'Connor (born March 25, 1925, Savannah, Georgia, U.S.—died August 3, 1964, Milledgeville, Georgia) American novelist and short-story writer whose works, usually set in the rural American South and often treating of alienation, concern the relationship between the individual and God.. O'Connor grew up in a prominent Roman Catholic family in her native Georgia.

  18. Flannery O'Connor: Comforts of Home, The Flannery O'Connor

    Comforts of Home focuses on Flannery O'Connor related information evaluated for its reliability and usefulness: links to biographical information about Flannery O'Connor, critical analysis of her work, and general praise of her abilities as a writer and a human being. If you're searching for essays and other scholarship on Flannery O'Connor ...

  19. Flannery O'Connor O'Connor, (Mary) Flannery (Vol. 13)

    Flannery O'Connor's themes are so traditional as to make her fiction seem unique within the context of the 50s. During a period in which regionalism was becoming suspect, O'Connor rooted her ...

  20. As Space Threats Mount, U.S. Lags in Protecting GPS Services

    Threats are mounting in space. GPS signals are vulnerable to attack. Their time-keeping is essential for stock trading, power transmission and more. The United States and China are locked in a new ...

  21. Flannery O'Connor O'Connor, (Mary) Flannery (Vol. 15)

    O'Connor, (Mary) Flannery 1925-1964 O'Connor was an American short story writer, novelist, and essayist. A Roman Catholic from the Bible Belt, she liberally laced her fiction with material from ...