Flannery O’Connor The Blue Stockings. The Life of Flannery O’Connor PBS VIDEO: ...
Transcript of Flannery O’Connor The Blue Stockings. The Life of Flannery O’Connor PBS VIDEO: ...
The Blue Stockings
The Life of Flannery O’Connor
PBS VIDEO: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/episodes/november-20-2009/flannery-oconnor/5043/
FamilyBorn: March 25, 1925 in Savannah, GeorgiaParents: Edward Francis O’Connor, Jr. Real Estate Agent & Regina Cline O’Connor. • Both Families were prominent in
Georgia’s Catholic Church• Was an Only Child
Named in honor of Cpt. John Flannery & Mary Norton Flannery(Uncle who immigrated to US from Ireland in 1851 & served in the Civil War, worked as a banker, railroad director, cotton broker, one of the founding members of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah.) Hence Her Name Mary Flannery O’Connor
FamilyEdward Francis O’Connor, Jr. Died
in 1941 when O’Connor was fifteen years old from Lupus. Lupus is a degenerative disease attacking the bones and immune system in the body.
Childhood Home in Savannah, GA
O’Connor critiqued her childhood books directly on the leaves:
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll,“Awful. I wouldn’t read this book.”
Georgina Finds Herself by Shirley Watkins,“This is the worst book I ever read next to “Pinocchio.”
Little Men by Louisa May Alcott,“First rate, splendid.”
The Family Move to Milledgeville, GA
1938O’Connor Family moved to Andalusia Farm (A plantation that Her mother inherits from her brother).
Raised chickens and peacocks
O’Connor, 13, attends the Peabody Laboratory School associated with Georgia State College for Women.
-At 15 after her fathers death O’Connor elects to stay at Milledgeville and attend GSCW in a 3-year accelerated program.
A social science major with a number of English courses. Remembered as gifted but shy.Friends recall her sly humor, disdain for mediocrity, & her attacks on affectation & triviality.
Following the Completion of
In 1945 O’Connor received a scholarship in journalism from the State University of Iowa but later changed her mind and entered the master’s program for creative writing.
1949 Moved into Garage Apartment of Sally & Robert Fitzgerald in Connecticut (for 2 yrs.) which provided a balance solitude & communion needed for her spiritual, creativity, and intellectual life.
1950 O’Connor stricken with Lupus and had to move back to her mothers farm permanently.
O’Connor briefly dated a young, handsome, college textbook salesman named Erik Langkjaer. In 1954 she had possibly her first & last kiss which Erik describes as,
“As our lips touched, I had a feeling that her mouth lacked resilience, as if she had no muscle tension in her mouth, a result being that my own lips touched her teeth rather than lips, & this gave me an unhappy feeling of a sort of memento mori, & so the kissing stopped… I had a feeling of kissing a skeleton, & in that sense it was a shocking experience.”
DeathAug. 3, 1964
O’Connor suffered from Lupus, the same disease that her father died from.
O’Connor was rushed to Baldwin County Hospital on July 29, 1964, where she slipped into a coma and succumbed to kidney failure shortly after midnight on August 3rd. She was 39 years old.
Devout Catholic• Attended Daily Mass throughout her
entire life.• Remained true to her Catholic Faith.• Godmother to one of the Fitzgeralds’
six children; but she could not remember the child's name.
• Her Profound Religious Convictions were shown when her letters were published: The Habit of Being: Letters in 1979. Showing beyond shocking stories into her life, personality, and intellect. Which Received numerous awards the Christian Centaury magazine named it one of the most influential religious books of the decade.
Religion in Writing
• Her writing focuses on the ideas of grace, redemption, evil, love, transcendence, and apocalyptic power.
• Almost all characters in her writing are Protestant (haunted, tested, and redeemed).
• In reading her work and her letters one can see that the connection in her fictional writing and the search for God and the search for the holy in her life were strongly connected.
Peacocks in Christian art appears as a
symbol of immorality
and the incorruptible
soul. O’Connor said
she was attracted to the bird by “instinct.”
Sent feathers to
correspondence and friends.
Flannery O’Connor is most well-known for her short stories, though these were certainly not her only works. In addition to her stories, she
had two novels, Wise Blood and the Violent Bear it Away. She was also a very talented cartoon artist, many of her cartoons could be found
around her college campus in Georgia. She used her sharp wit and sense of humor to portrait her
messages to her audiences.
While her work was received with mixed reviews (especially
true with Wise Blood), O’Connor never ceased writing. Despite
her fight with lupus for most of her short life, she woke up early every morning and wrote. She wrote for the purpose of self-
discovery. For Flannery, it was a journey of self-awareness and
discovery. She often did not know what she thought of an
issue until she began to write on it, in doing so she came to her
conclusions and stuck by them.
Though she was a self- proclaimed Catholic, O’Connor’s writings were often not popular with
Catholics. Her fans say that in addition to her short career and life, she wasn’t as popular
because she asked the hard questions that few would care to answer.
During her life she lived with Robert and Sally Fitzgerald, who were devout Catholics. In living
with them, she found the “balance of solitude and communion
necessary to her creativity and her intellectual and spiritual life.” She remained great friends with the Fitzgeralds, and while in her last
years wrote many letters back and forth with them. These letters
eventually were taken, in addition to correspondence to other
friends, by Sally Fitzgerald and put into a book called “The Habit of Being” which was published in
Flannery’s style of writing was Southern Gothic, though, like everything else she did, O’Connor put a unique spin on everything she wrote. She made frequent use of shock tactics, violence, and grotesque situations and characters. She once said,
“To the hard of hearing, [Christian writers] shout, and for the almost blind [they] draw large and startling
This is one of her most famous quotes.
Because some find it hard her works hard to understand, it was found that it
was best to hear it from O’Connor herself. She was a very disciplined writer who had a profound grasp of southern dialect and a fine sense of
irony and comic timing. Though misunderstood by many, her editor and publisher Robert Giroux never lost faith in her, and was excited every time she
brought him a new piece.
• She wrote all the way up until her death. And though her works may have been underappreciated in her
time, she is now recognized as one of the most incredible female writers of
all time. She is featured in the Georgia Women of Achievement and is a member of the Georgia Writers
Hall of Fame, into which she was inducted in 2000.
"A story is a way to say something that can't be said any other way, and it takes every
word in the story to say what the meaning is."
• Rinehart-Iowa Fiction Award (1947)• Kenyon Review Fellowship (1953)• Honoree, Best American Short Stories (1955)• Georgia Writers Association Literary Achievement Award (1956)• O. Henry Prize (1957)• American Academy of Arts and Letters grant (1957)• Alumnae Achievement Award, Georgia State College for Women (1957)• Honoree, best American Short Stories (1958)• ford foundation Grant (1959)• Georgia Writers conference Literary Achievement Award (1962)• Honorary Degree, Saint Mary's college, Notre Dame, IN (1962)• Honorary Degree, smith College, Northampton, MA (1963)• O. Henry Prize (1963)• O. Henry Prize (1965)• National book Award (1972)• Georgia Women of Achievement Honoree (1992)• Georgia Writers Hall of Fame (2000)
"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it."
• * Short life - Full of Accomplishments• * Civil Rights
Movement• * Religious - Human
with Flaws• * Her Influence (Common/Famous)
"It is better to be young in your failures than old in your successes."
* Childhood Home
* Andalusia* Current