FAMOUS WORKS Wise Blood (1952)- first novel The Violent Bear it Away (1960)- her second, and final novel. A Good Man is Hard to Find, and other stories (1955)- book ofshort stories Complete Short Stories of Flannery O’Connor (1971)- book of shortstories released after her death.
HER RELIGION Flannery was a devout Catholic, and her religion greatly influenced her outlook on life and her work.
BELIEFS With the exception of a number of the early stories, OConnorconsistently produced fiction having an implicit, if not a totallyexplicit, religious world view as an integral element of each work.
WRITINGS In numerous articles and letters to her friends, OConnor stressed the needfor the Catholic writer to make fiction "according to its nature . . . bygrounding it in concrete observable reality" because when the Catholic writer"closes his own eyes and tries to see with the eyes of the Church, the result isanother addition to that large body of pious trash for which we have so longbeen famous." As she noted in one article, "When people have told me thatbecause I am a Catholic, I cannot be an artist, I have had toreply, ruefully, that because I am a Catholic, I cannot afford to be less thanan artist
COMMENTS "They didnt want to hear what I said and when they heard itthey didnt want to believe it and so they changed it. I also told themthat the average Catholic reader was a Militant Moron but theydidnt quote that naturally."
CHRISTIAN CONCERNSOConnor was, throughout her writing career, convinced that themajority of her audience did not share her basic viewpoint and was, ifnot openly hostile to it, at best indifferent. In order to reach such anaudience, OConnor felt that she had to make the basic distortions ofa world separated from the original, divine plan "appear as distortionsto an audience which is used to seeing them as natural." This sheaccomplished by resorting to the grotesque in her fiction.
DOCTRINE Without becoming totally bogged down in the Catholic doctrine ofgrace (a good Catholic dictionary will list at least ten to fifteenentries dealing with the subject), one should be aware of whatOConnor means when she uses the term in connection with herstories. Loosely defined, Illuminating Grace (the type of grace mostfrequently used by OConnor in her stories) may be described as a gift,freely given by God, which is designed to enlighten the minds ofpeople and help them toward eternal life.
COMIC NOVEL Even though OConnors vision was essentially religious, she choseto present it from a primarily comic or grotesque perspective. In a noteto the second edition of Wise Blood, her first novel, OConnor wrote,"It is a comic novel about a Christian malgré lui [in spite of himself],and as such, very serious, for all comic novels that are any good mustbe about matters of life and death." Several friends have verifiedOConnors problem with public readings of her stories.
SIN For individuals incapable of seeing humanity as a group of strugglingmanikins operating against a backdrop of eternal purpose, many ofOConnors stories appear to be filled with meaningless violence. Even thosecharacters who are granted a moment of grace or experience an epiphanalvision do so only at the cost of having their self-images, if notthemselves, destroyed. In a very real sense, all of OConnors characters haveinherited the Original Sin of Adam, and all are equally guilty.