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Mary Flannery OConnor


Born March 25, 1925

Savannah, GA Lupus

died. Aug 3, 1964


Georgia State College for Women MFA State University of Iowa

Iowas Writers Workshop


2 Novels 32 Short Stories


modern South Country (vs. city)

Opposing Forces

Modern Secular (science, social programs, progress)


God-centered spiritual world (sin and salvation)



Women middle-aged, middle-class, alone Well-established view of themselves, human nature, & the world

Movement of story

Toward a moment protagonist recognizes falseness of his/her views.

Catalyst is other character

Manly Pointer The Misfit

Final Redemptive Moment

Break forth and wash the slime from the earth!

Nature Imagery

Reflects humankind in its base nature. Never Sentimental- Refuse to do Pretty

Trees are sullen Threadbare Clouds are indifferent Humans are large bug wheezing horse sheep crab goat buzzard

Reasonable Use of the Unreasonable

A person in a violent situation reveals those aspects of his/her character that he/she will take with him/her into eternity.

These moments are when the reader can see the soul of the character.

Dasein death represents the moment

when a mans existence becomes complete being there

Concept of Dread

Kierkegaard- mans attempt to replace the Absolute with himself is pathetic and comical but never tragic. Tragic is for the religious


Gives characters opportunity of receiving grace

Grace often comes at moment of grisly death the grandmothers head cleared for an instant she murmured, Why youre one of my babies. Youre own of my own children! then she gets 3 bullets in the chest.

Self- Knowledge can be a curse- faced with the pathetic, wasted life they cant deny

stripped bare and flogged by Truth


Spiritual Principle

There are certain things that we are simply not meant to know. Accept the Paradox

Misfits Speech pg 5 and 6

Represented as Distortion in her writing

Unlikely occurrences, yet not beyond the scope of possibility.


Balances Realistic and Anagogical

Anagogical- mystical interpretation, detects allusion to heaven or afterlife. (Often hard to extrapolate the anagogical significance)

Grandmother recognizes that she is tied to the Misfit in a bond of mystery, says the first honest thing in her life, and is shot.

Reader commits the Sin of Pride


Southern Gothic- (not grotesque) Writing is stark, Spartan, dour, steady, something is bubbling beneath the lid Takes on Character point of view in the narrative. (The omniscient 3rd person narrator takes on the voice of the character)

He didnt have a natural sunny disposition like she did and trips made him nervous.

Symbolic Names

Usually a mockery of the person Often religious

Joy Hopewell= joyless, hopeless, unwell Manly Pointer= points the way Mary Grace= Obadiah Elihue- prophet and friend of Job

Thematic Elements



Serve as an example for both the folly of denying religion AND as Christological figures themselves


Facing Death- the motivational engine that drove her stories.

(about Good Man The heroine of the story, the Grandmother, is in the most significant position life offers the Christian. She is facing death.

Need for Grace

Violence is strangely capable of returning my characters to reality and preparing them to accept their moment of grace.