O’Connor’s literary work

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The life and literary works of a prominent Georgian novelist, Flannery O'Connor, have received special attention over the years, and several scholars have taken a critical approach to her unusual writing style. Her work has been incorporated into many classroom discussions, dissertations, and critical tomes, indicating that the public recognized her. O'Connor's prose style was distinct, and many of her works had a certain tone that was limited to religious observations and Catholic orthodoxy. O'Connor employs styles such as irony and color imagery in most of her works to keep most of her novice audiences from understanding her key points. However, any reader who is used to her style of writing will not miss identifying the common themes varying across her stories. Therefore, the following essay attempts to depict the literacy works of O’Connor, her major criticisms, and a specific illustration from one of her works.

General Analysis


O’Connor works have been subjected to major criticism over the years with many critics challenging her faith and style of writing. To begin with, O’Connor wrote most of her works from a religious perspective, and this attributes from her background since she was a Roman Catholic and a member of the Bible –belt south. She wrote stories with the intention to reveal the mystery that inclines to God’s grace in day-to-day life. However, many critics argued that not all readers shared her faith, thus could not follow through with the same belief and understanding. Furthermore, “despite her declarations to be an orthodox Christian, most critics labeled her as an atheist due to her frequent use of grotesque gratuitously” (Lucas, 4). The common themes identified in her work include symbolism, epiphany, allegory, and religion. These themes have not changed over time since they are still used by most of today’s writers and still develop the same intention as used by O’Connor. For instance, the use of Epiphany in her work is vividly evident where scenes of violence and destruction are demonstrated through some of her characters. This theme still applies today and aims at reinforcing a particular message given by the author. In addition, the O’Connor uses the southern gothic genre in most of her works to display her message. She is widely recognized for engaging the religious inclination to illustrate her intentions and message.


The work of O’Connor has been approached positively by most of her readers and the fact her writings are used in classroom discussions, numerous dissertations, and critical tomes, shows that she is widely recognized across the globe. Despite the major criticism challenged towards her work, it is evident that she was appreciated by most of her critics due to her clear and confined message. Furthermore, her unique style of writing that inclined to the religious point of view develops her convictions, and most readers respect her for maintaining one vocational tone. “Any reader prefers a consistent and a profound writer who displays mastery of the works he/she is confined to” (Bernard 205). O’Connor is liked by his readers for the same reason since she was profound and considered her work in great specialty as the way a person is called to priesthood (Lucas, 4). Therefore, the assimilation of most of her works in today’s literature studies indicates that she is well known during and after her death.


O’Connor’s death was not the end of her writing, and over the years, most authors have acknowledged her works in their books. In a close analysis, the kind of publicity that O’Connor received after her death is more pronounced as compared to her days when she was alive. This could be attributed to the complexity of her writing, which was uncommon during that era. An author named Josephine Hendin wrote a book in 1970 called “World According to Flannery O’Connor’ in a demonstration of O’Connor’s work and appreciating her perspectives. In one instance, Hendin describes O’Connor as Naphta and a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church (Keil 45). Such recognition, among others, depicts the kind of approach given to her work after her death. Therefore, until date, O’Connor’s work remains valid with insightful inspirations to her favorite readers.



The story A good man is hard to find is among the widely known writing of O’Connor that demonstrate her unique writing styles. However, major critics of the story argue that the story is not original and the plot of the story could have been borrowed from regional and local headlines from newspapers. For instance, O’Connor narrates the story where the pathological killer, the Misfit, murders a whole family in the story. This story was fabricated from a newspaper trending story about a killer in Atlanta area, who terrorized people in 1950 (Keil 46). Several themes have been identified in the story and among them include epiphany, good and evil, horror, and religion. These themes are demonstrated in several instances where gory scenes of murder and death are used to depict a certain message. These themes have not changed over time and most of today writers and movie producers still borrow from such artistic works.


The short story was first published in 1953 and appeared in the collection of other short stories. The short story was widely known and received during that period, and this is because of its publication in many anthologies (Lucas 6). The story became the most famous stories of O’Connor’s writing due to the unique style of writing. Most critics liked the story based on its combination of several thematic styles and complexity of message. However, several critics disregarded the story due to its lack of originality. Generally, the story was popular and was well received by the public, and this attributes to the kind of publication. Furthermore, since this was among the last of O’Connor’s writing, most people were interested to have a glimpse of her maturity in the field, thus increasing its publicity.


The reputation of the story grew widely after its release, and this is attributed to the proper publication. The story received several referrals, and since O’Connor had already established particular fan-base, it did not take long before the story spread widely. In the initial years after publication, the story commanded respect due to the unique style of writing and the insightful plot of the story. Later on, rumors bestowed that the story was scary for the young children, lacked originality due to its similarity with the current news, and it regarded men as fallen creatures. Such major critics made the story to lose respect, which was however undermined by other supporters of her work (Lucas 6). Generally, the story has been influential from the time of its publication to-date, and this reception is attributed to the application in several curriculum studies. The story is used in today’s classes to teach certain literature styles and acts as the center of comparison between the ancient literacy writing and today’s wiring.

Works Cited

Bernard, Steve. "What Is a Good Story?" Analyzing Narrative Reality, 2004, pp. 201-210.

Keil, Katherine. "O'Connor's A Good Man is Hard to Find." The Explicator, vol. 65, no. 1, 2006, pp. 44-47.

Lucas, Morris. "Towards a New Approach to Flannery O’Connor’s Fiction." The Gospel According to Flannery O’Connor : Examining the Role of the Bible in Flannery O’Connor’s Fiction, 2010, pp. 1-8.

January 20, 2022



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