Flannery O'Connor Born in Savannah, Georgia, in Essay

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Flannery O'Connor

Born in Savannah, Georgia, in 1925, Flannery O'Conner was the only child of a Catholic family. The region was part of the 'Christ-haunted' Bible belt of the Southern States. The spiritual traditions of the area greatly influenced O'Connor's writing. O'Connor's father, Edward F. O'Connor, was a realtor who worked later for a construction company and died in 1941. Her mother, Regina, came from a prominent family in the state; her father had been mayor of Milledgeville for many years. At the age of twelve O'Conner moved to Milledgeville and attended Peabody High School. After graduation she enrolled in Georgia State College for Women where she edited the college magazine. She graduated in 1945 and continued her studies at the University of Iowa, attending writer's workshops conducted by Paul Engel, where she received a Master's of Fine Arts in Literature.

O'Conner's short stories A Good Man is Hard to Find and Good Country People can be seen as an examination of hypocrisy, dishonesty, selfishness, and how these traits influence the choices we make in the course of our everyday lives, and the consequences of those choices.


A Good man is Hard to Find takes place over the course of two days at the beginning of a family vacation. Told by a third person narrator, the primary focus of the narrative is from the Grandmother's perspective of events that take place. As the story begins, the Grandmother would rather go to Tennessee for vacation and see some of her "connections" then take the planned trip to Florida. She tries to manipulate the situation in order to get her wishes, waving a newspaper in front of her son, Bailey, and warning him of a serial killer, the Misfit, on the loose heading toward Florida.

When this ruse fails to gain the desired effect she tries another tactic and declares, "The children have been to Florida before, you all ought to take them somewhere else for a change so they would see different parts of the world and be broad." She then reminds him, "They never have been to east Tennessee." In response the children, John Wesley, eight years old, suggests that the grandmother stay home, and his sister, June Star, says nastily that his grandmother would never do that.

Realizing she is not going to get her way the Grandmother gets up early the next morning, sneaks her cat into the car, and is waiting in her Sunday best, so that, in a bit of foreshadowing, if she should die in an accident she will be recognized as "a lady."

Along the way the family stops at a diner for lunch. The Grandmother and the owner, Red Sammy, talk about the escaped murderer. Sammy observes that a good man is hard to find and the grandmother agrees.

When the trip resumes the grandmother begins telling stories about a nearby home that she had visited as a child. Believing it would entice the family to want to go there she makes up a story. "There was a secret:-panel in this house," she said craftily, not telling the truth but wishing that she were, "and the story went that all the family silver was hidden in it when Sherman came through but it was never found . . .." The children become adamant that they must visit the house and pled and whine until their father agrees to follow the grandmother's directions to the "plantation."…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Gossett, Thomas F.,"Flannery O'Conner's Humor with A Serious Purpose," Studies in American Humor. Wake Forest University. 20 April 2011.

"Flannery O'Conner (1925-1964)" Books and Writers. (2011) 20 April 2011

Meyer Michael. TheBedford Introduction to Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing. New York: Bedford/St. Martins, 2010.

O'Connor, Flannery. "A Good Man is Hard to Find." The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. Eds. R.V. Cassill and Richard Bausch. New York: W.W. Norton & Company Inc., 2000. 689-700.

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