Mary Flannery O’Connor was an American short story writer, essayist, and novelist, active throughout the first half of the 20th century. Born in Savannah, GA, Flannery’s original writing dreams were to become a journalist, yet that was squashed due to her shy personality and ridiculously heavy southern draw, and therefore, the arena of fiction was where she optimized her craft. O’Connor led a too short life, and her career is often overlooked due to the fact that its focus centers around the idea of Christian realism; Flannery was a devout Roman Catholic, and at the heart of each one of her short stories is a moment where the character is charged with the decision of choosing to accept or reject grace (aka GOD). In most circumstances, she would use relatively grotesque and violent scenes to show this moment, because in her own opinion, accepting grace is difficult and painful. “All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.” In grand total, Flannery wrote 2 novels, 31 short stories, and well over 100 book reviews. She never married nor had children, probably due to an early diagnosis of lupus, a disease she suffered with for 12 years before passing away at the very young age of 39, an illness her father had also succumbed to when she was a child. This week’s episode is going to be a tad shorter, mainly as a consequence of Flannery’s short yet striking career, and while normally on the podcast I might not cover an artist with so little meat on the bones, O’Connor has been one of the MOST requested writers in the last two and a half years for the podcast, so we are diving in anyway. We will focus on her life, a little on her writing to better understand the context of her perspectives, and of course, celebrate the incredible contributions Flannery made to the literary world.
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